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CHANTEYS AND BALLADS 

SEA - CHANTEYS, TRAMP - BALLADS 
AND OTHER BALLADS AND POEMS 



OTHER BOOKS BY HARRY KEMP 

THE PASSING GOD. Poems 
JUDAS. A Play 
THE CRY OF YOUTH. Poems 
JOHN MERLIN. Forthcoming Autobiographic 
Novel 



CHANTEYS AND BALLADS 

SEA-CHANTEYS, TRAMP-BALLADS 

AND OTHER BALLADS 

AND POEMS 



BY 

HARRY KEMP 




NEW YORK 
BRENTANO S 

PUBLISHERS 



COPYRIGHT, 1920, BY 
BRENT A NO S 

All rights reserved 



THE-PLIMPTON -PRESS 
NORWOOD- M ASS U S A 



DEDICATED TO 

RICHARD LEGALLIENNE 

WHO HAS DEVOTED A LIFE-TIME OF ARTISTRY TO THE 

MAINTENANCE OF THE HIGH TRADITION 

OF ENGLISH SONG 



4391 9 i 



I 



N bringing out these poems in book form 
acknowledgments are due to the following 
magazines: Adventure, Ainslee s, The Century, 
Collier s, The Daily Citizen (London), 
Everybody s, The Forum, The International, 
The Independent, House and Garden, Live 
Stories, McClure s, Munsey s, The Masses, 
The New Review, The Parisienne, The People s 
Magazine, The Popular Magazine, The Quill, 
The Saturday Evening Post, Snappy Stories, 
The Smart Set, Telling Tales, The Thrill 
Book, The Twentieth Century Magazine. 



TO MY READERS 

AT was in my youth and my cany twenties, 
at a time when I was thoroughly mad for life 
and whetted keen in every nerve for picaresque 
adventure and a man s romance at sea, that I 
went through the varied experiences from which 
finally sprang these songs and ballads. 

For it was not till long after I had left off" 
going to sea and tramping on land that I gained 
the power to give them forthright expression in 
song. The tumult and reality were too near me 
as yet. I had not acquired the necessary per 
spective. I could as soon have cut my heart out 
and held it up for people to look at, as have 
sung them then. Now, and only after years of 
comparative settling down, have my experiences 
ripened into maturity and achieved the incar 
nation of the present word. 

Since those days of tramping and of sea-life, 
my mode of existence has immeasurably changed. 
So much so that at times my former life seems 
only a far dream, or something I must have 
imagined. 

All the technicalities of ships and things have 
dropped through my mind into a forgetting as 
through a net that holds only big fish and lets 
the little escape . . . the unimportant has been 
lost, the everlasting aspects remain. . . . 



TO MY READERS 

For still the Shine and Heave of the sea 
itself overpowers me the same as of old the 
beloved ocean pouring in tremendously from all 
its four horizons. Again I feel the way seamen 
feel and act. Again there comes to me the 
breathing night full of gulfs of over-leaning 
stars . . . those wide dawns and sunsets with no 
land in sight, that are a spiritual experience in 
themselves . . . again there comes to me richly 
the strange, inarticulate growth of soul and heart 
and mind that intimate experience of sea and 
sky brings to them who learn and love the life 
of those who go down to sea in ships . . . again 
I find the immortal meaning of it all. . . . 

Rolling freights, jails, vermin, ships at sea, 
rough foVsle companionships, I am gladder 
for these things than for all that I have since 
learned from classrooms and from books. . . . 

For only when a chap is down to the buff and 
hanging on to the ragged edge of things does he 
get glimpses, through peep-holes of hard work, 
suffering, and humility, into men s naked souls. 

As for my chants and ballads out of the Bible, 
a word of explanation will suffice: once when I 
was being held over in jail for a fairly extended 
period, for a crime which I did not commit 
(which is neither here nor there) ... at a time 

C6] 



TO MY READERS 

when I was tramping I had an only book with 
me, a Bible. And I found it a real live book, 
full of men and women who had the color of the 
earth in their words and lives and thoughts. 
Possessing this Bible not through piety but by 
accident, I found power and poetry in those old 
shepherds and prophets and kings that move 
and breathe in its pages. . . . 

And Christ walking about Judea, along the 
roads, and from inn to inn, somehow got into 
my soul, together with his honest fishermen- 
apostles . . . and so the New Testament Life, 
as well as that of the Old, also became a part of 
actual contemporary life for me, just as much as 
the campfires I sat about or the other tramps I 
consorted with. 

HARRY KEMP 



CONTENTS 

To MY READERS 5 

CHANTEYS 13 

FO C SLE COMRADESHIP 14 

A SEAMAN S CONFESSION OF FAITH 15 

THE REMEDY 16 

THERE S NOTHING LIKE A SHIP AT SEA 18 

A SHINING SHIP 20 

GOING DOWN IN SHIPS 22 

THE SHIP OF DREAMS 24 

A WHALER S CONFESSION 27 

THE GIRL THAT MARRIED ANOTHER MAN 29 

THE DOLDRUMS 30 

GOOD-BYE 32 

THE CHANTEY OF THE COOK 34 

AT SEA I LEARNED THE WEATHER 37 

CLIPPER DAYS 38 

THE STEAMBOAT SAILOR S REPLY 40 

THE OLD SAILOR S REMEDY 43 

THE SAILOR S FAREWELL 45 

THE FOG 46 

A SAILOR S LIFE 47 

JIM 48 

SHANGHAIED 49 

THE SAILOR S RETURN 50 

THE ENDLESS LURE 51 

SAILORMEN 53 

THE WRECK 54 

THE STORM 55 



THE SHIPWRECKED SAILOR 56 

WIND-JAMMER S SONG 57 

THE CHANT OF THE DERELICT 59 

SEASIDE TALKERS 63 

SAID THE CAPTAIN TO ME 64 

THEN 65 

THE BEACH COMBER 66 

THE BALLAD OF ENGLISH JOHN, THE BUCCANEER 67 

A CARIBBEAN FANTASY 69 

BUCCANEER DAYS 70 

GHOST-SONG OF THE SPANISH BUCCANEERS 72 

WHEN THRAN WAS KING 74 

THERE WAS A LITTLE QUEEN IN EGYPT 76 

THE CHANTEY OF NOAH AND His ARK 78 

WHEN HAM AND SHEM AND JAPHET 81 

THE CHANTEY OF JONAH 83 

HESPERIDES 89 

RECOLLECTION 90 

I VE DECKED THE TOPS 92 

JAIL, A TRAMP RHYTHM 93 

AUTOBIOGRAPHY 94 

BALLAD OF COMPLAINT AGAINST THE VAGRANT 

LIFE 95 

THE SCARECROW WOMAN 97 

THE CALL 98 

RIDING BY NIGHT 100 

THE RETURN 101 

EXPERIENCE 103 

A TRAMP S PRAYER 105 

THE WILD BIRD . . . : 106 



MARCH NIGHT 107 

LET ME BE STILL LIFE S FOOL 108 

Go TELL THE LYING WORLD 109 

GOD S BACCHANTE 1 10 

STAR-FACTS 1 1 1 

MIDNIGHT 112 

TRANSMUTATION 113 

RAIN-SADNESS 114 

MOON-DAWN 115 

THE CRY OF MAN 1 16 

TOWARDS DAWN 117 

WHY? 118 

BLIND 119 

AUTUMN TWILIGHT 120 

THE WIND S LIFE 121 

LIGHTNING 122 

THE DAWN 123 

WONDER 1 24 

TRANSIT GLORIA 125 

To ONE WHO SAID HE WAS BORED WITH LIFE . 126 

EXUBERANCE 127 

THE HUMMING BIRD 128 

TELL ALL THE WORLD 129 

WIND-MAGIC 130 

THE CHANTEY OF THE GALILEAN FISHERMAN. . 131 

CHANT OF THE WIDOW S MITE 134 

THE GOING OF His FEET 135 

LAZARUS SPEAKS 137 

THE ANGEL S ANTHEM 139 

THE UNREPENTANT THIEF 140 



A RHYME OF Two WAYFARERS 141 

THE PLAYMATE 142 

A CHANTEY OF GROWING GREEN THINGS 143 

THE RHYME OF THE PRODIGAL 145 

THE RHYME OF THE ELDER BROTHER 147 

A FANTASY OF HEAVEN 150 

HIGHWAYMAN S SONG 151 

THE MADMAN 153 

THE DEAD LOVER 155 

THE DISEMBODIED 156 

TRUTH AND LIE 157 

THE BOOTH OF HAPPINESS 158 

UNNUMBERED WORLDS 159 

THE HAUNTED HOUSE 160 

THE BALLAD OF THE LIVING DEAD 161 

THE GAME WARDEN S SON 163 

THE BETRAYAL 164 

HE DID NOT KNOW l68 

THE FIDDLER 169 

STREET LAMPS 170 

A POET S ROOM 171 

FAREWELL 1 73 



CHANTEYS 

JL HESE are the songs that we sing with crowd 
ing feet, 

Heaving up the anchor chain, 
Or walking down the deck in the wind and the 

sleet 
And in the drizzle and rain. 

These are the songs that we sing beneath the 

sun, 

Or under the stars of night, 
And they help us through with the work to be 

done 
When the moon climbs into sight. 

These are the songs that tell our inmost hopes 

While we pull and haul a-main, 
The bo sun booming as we lean with the ropes, 

And we, bringing in the refrain. 



FO C SLE COMRADESHIP 



T, 



HERE S not much in the fo c sle of a ship 
But old seaboots and chests that stand in rows 
While up above a smoky lantern glows, 
And hanging from their pegs the oilskins drip. 
Sometimes in storms the water washes in; 
Sometimes we stifle for a breath of air; 
Yet somehow comradeship gets being there 
And common hardship makes the stranger 

kin. . . . 

Blood-brothers we become, but not in peace, 
Still ready to exchange the lie and blow; 
Just like the sea our quarrels rise and cease: 
We ve never a dull moment down below. . . . 
But set upon us in a tavern brawl 
You ll find that you will have to fight us all. 



CI43 



A SEAMAN S CONFESSION OF FAITH 



A 



S long as I go forth on ships that sail 
The mighty seas, my faith, O Lord, won t fail; 
And while the stars march onward mightily 
In white, great hosts, I shall remember Thee; 
I have seen men one moment all alive, 
The next, gone out with none to bless or shrive 
Into the unseen place where all must go, 
So, Lord, thy mercy and thy gifts I know. . . . 
They think me Godless, maybe, but indeed 
They do not see how I have read thy creed 
In flowing tides and waves that heave and run 
Beyond the endless west where sinks the sun; 
In the long, long night-watches I have thought 
On things that neither can be sold nor bought, 
Rare, priceless things; nor have I scorned nor 

scoffed 

At thy sure might, when lost in storms aloft: 
The prayer and faith of seamen will not fail 
O God, my God, as long as ships do sail. 



THE REMEDY 

VV HEN you ve failed with ordered people, 

when you ve sunk neck-deep again 
In the sluggish wash and jetsam of the slackened 

tides of men, 
Don t get old and mean and bitter, there s 

a primal remedy 
Just take a ship to sea, my lad, just take a 

ship to sea. 

There are shipmen grey and aged but still full 

of ancient mirth, 
And they drew their joy of living, not from 

rooting in the earth, 
But from striking out forever with a sail that s 

never furled 
And by seeing all the oceans and the wonder 

of the world; 
In the dim, Phoenician days and in the wild 

sea-times of old 
Do you think they only voyaged for the red of 

shining gold? 
No, they slid beyond the sky-line for they felt 

it good to be 
On a ship that tramped with thunder down the 

highways of the sea. 



When you ve drunk the lees of failure, when 

you ve fought and never won, 
When you ve cursed the stale recurrence of the 

certain, weary sun 
And the daily, fruitless struggle pledging youth 

for usury, 
Come, and cast the world behind you, and 

take ship for open sea; 

All you ll need will be your dunnage and your 

knife upon your hip, 
And you ll find a bunk that waits you in the 

foVsle of a ship, 
And you ll find the wind about you and the 

everlasting sky 
Leaning huge from four horizons as the flying 

scud blows by 
And you ll find the ancient healing, ever waiting, 

ever free, 
That all men have found forever in the sailing 

of the sea. 



THERE S NOTHING LIKE A SHIP 
AT SEA 

THREE SONGS OF SHIPS 

J_ HERE S nothing like a ship at sea with all 

her sails full-spread 
And the ocean thundering backward neath her 

mounting figurehead 
And the bowsprit plunging starward and then 

nosing deep again. 
"There s nothing like a ship at sea," sing ho, 

ye sailormen. 

Oh, a little wayside tavern is a jolly thing to know 
Where there s mugs and waiting tables and an 

open fire a-glow; 
And it s good to have a song to sing at work as 

well as play; 

And it s pleasant to have memories of boy 
hood s yesterday; 
And they say a tried companion walking down 

an endless road 
Makes the heavy footfall lighter, shares the 

burden of the load. . . . 
And I see my sweetheart walking with her head 

held proud and high 
And I wish that I was with her where the bells 

ring in the sky. . . . 



But there s nothing like a ship at sea with all 

her sails full-spread 
And the ocean thundering backward neath 

her mounting figurehead. 
Oh, it s once you be a sailor you must go to sea 

again. 
" There s nothing like a ship at sea," sing ho, 

ye sailormen. 



A SHINING SHIP 



H 



.AVE you ever seen a shining ship 
Riding the broad-backed wave, 
While the sailors pull the ropes and sing 
The chantey s lusty stave? 

Have you ever gazed from a headland s reach 

Far out, into the blue, 
To glimpse, at first a flashing mote 

That to a tall ship grew, 

A full-sailed ship on the great, broad sea 

Heel-down and bearing home 
All the romance from Homer s days 

To now, across the foam? 

For, purple-white in rippling dusks, 

Or edged with sunset s fire, - 
Behold, each ship is a phantom ship 

That bears the World s Desire! . . . 

O merchant, merchant seeking wares 

That tip full-laden beams, 
The Living God has made your fleets 

His argosies for dreams, 



C20] 



Far-riding argosies that go 
With bearded men and strong 

To the world s ends for merchandise 
And come back bearing Song! 

Legends and songs of Happy Isles 

And fairy realms a-far 
Beyond the windless gates of dawn 

And the white morning star! 



GOING DOWN IN SHIPS 

rOING down to sea in ships 
Is a glorious thing, 
Where up and over the rolling waves 
The seabirds wing; 

Oh, there s nothing more to my neart s desire 

Than a ship that goes 
Head-on down through marching seas 

With streaming bows; 

Would you hear the song of the viewless winds 

As they walk the sky? 
Come down to sea when the storm is on 

And the men stand by. 

Would you see the sun as it walked abroad 

On God s First Day? 
Then come where dawn makes sea and sky 

A gold causeway. 

Oh, it s bend the sails on the black cross-yards 

For the day dies far 
And up a windless space of dusk 

Climbs the evening star. . . . 

Now there s gulf on foaming gulf of stars 

That lean so clear 
That it seems the bastions of heaven 

Are bright and near 

C22] 



And that, any moment, the topmost sky 

May froth and swim 
With an incredible bivouac 

Of seraphim. . . . 

O wide-flung dawn, O mighty day 

And set of sun! . . . 
O all you climbing stars of God, 

Oh, lead me on! , . 

Oh, it s heave the anchor, walk and walk 

The capstan round 
Far out I hear the giant sea s 

World-murmuring sound! 



[23 



THE SHIP OF DREAMS 



SHI: 



[P drawing furrows of following foam 
Leaning down shoreward out of the sky, 
What are the dreams you are carrying home, 

What are the dreams that you bring us to buy? 
"You may purchase your fill, you may have 

what you will" 
The Great Ship, leaning, made her reply, 

"For I bear all cargoes here in my hold 
As down the ways of the sky I dance, 

Chests of ebony, plates of gold, 

The High Adventure, The Great Romance, 

The One True Love that you ve long dreamed of, 

The Single Throw Of The Dice Of Chance; 

The Riches you seek and the Fame you ve pursued, 
The Joy of the Sweet, Vine-Trellised Cot, 

And every dream wherewith you ve endued 
The hopes of Man in his earthly lot, 

But in the end, my friend, my friend, 

You ve got to pay for the Dream you ve sought." 

The Ship swept on like a moving cloud 

In tier on tier of heavenly white, 
Singing with great winds, thunder-bowed, 

The joy of the ocean, the waves delight, 
While climbing high in the rocking sky, 
Her mariners went up, small, from sight. . . . 

C243 



Then the people came crowding from field and 
town 

To see the Ship of Their Dreams come in, 
Through highway and byway pouring down 

They made a noise like a market s din, 
The Rich and The Poor, The Gentle and Boor, 
The Glad and The Sad, The Fat and The Thin: 

For there s never a person but has his dream 
Or who has not sent his heart a-far 

Where the moving hills of the Ocean gleam 
Beyond the reach of the harbour-bar 

Whence the day is born, a-new, each morn 

Preceded by the morning star. . . . 

The traffic of unlading began, 

From the holds last depths the merchandise 

came; 
They crowded closer, woman and man, 

Each answering to his echoed name: 
And they bore away, the Sad and the Gay, 
Their bundles of woe and joy and shame. 

The Poet got his fame and his crust, 
The Statesman achieved his empty height, 

The Miser clutched his ignoble dust, 

The Conqueror s crown, it shone so bright 

That his eyes were blind to the storm behind 

And the pit that yawned at his feet forth 
right. . . . 

C253 



Now rose a wailing that grew and grew, 
"Nay, this is not as our hope did seem; 

We have gained a thing we never knew!" 

Then answered a Voice, "Aye, so ye deem? . . . 

Yet to each, as he lives, the Captain gives, 

And for the Dream, The Reward Of The 
Dream! ..." 

And yet full many were jocund there, 
And, singing, bore their burdens away, 

For they knew that the Captain had trafficked 

fair, 
And they had no word of cavil to say 

As away from the rout the Ship drew out 

Till it hung, like a star, on the edge of the day. 



C263 



A WHALER S CONFESSION 

A HREE long years a-sailing, three long years 

a-whaling, 
Kicking through the ice floes, caught in calm 

or gale, 
Lost in flat Sargasso seas, cursing at the prickly 

heat, 

Going months without a sight of another 
sail. 

I ve learned to hate the Mate, and I ve always 

cursed the Captain. 
I hate the bally Bo sun, and all the bally 

crew, 
And, sometimes, in the night-watch, the long 

and starry night-watch, 

Queer thoughts have run wild in my head - 
I ve even hated you! 

You, that have been my shipmate for fifteen 

years of sailing, 
From Peru to Vladivostock, from England to 

Japan. . . . 
Which shows how months of sailing, when even 

pals go whaling, 
Can get upon the bally nerves of any bally 



11*7:1 



I m glad our nose points homeward, points home 

again to Bristol, - 
I m glad for Kate who s waiting, far down a 

little lane: 
I ll sign her for a long cruise, a longer cruise 

than this one, 
And seal the bargain like a man, before I 

sail again. 

Yes, I will still go sailing; yes, I will still go 

whaling: 
I ve done a lot of thinking along of love and 

hate. . . . 
For signing on a woman s a cruise that lasts a 

lifetime - 

And I d rather hate a hundred crews than 
take to hating Kate! 

Three long years of whaling . . . yes, a life 
time sailing,. 
Kicking through the ice floes, caught in calm 

or gale, 
Lost in flat Sargasso seas, cursing at the prickly 

heat, 

Going months without a sight of another 
sail! 



28] 



THE GIRL THAT MARRIED 
ANOTHER MAN 



O 



H, it s easy come and it s easy go 
With most of the little girls I know, 

Haul away, my bullies; 
And when you come, and when you part, 
They never take it deep to heart, 

Haul away, my bullies. 
Oh, there was Martha, at Liverpool, 
She never heard of the Golden Rule, 

Haul away, my bullies; 
And there was Gulla, the Temple Girl, 
And Minnie, and Marie, and Pearl, 

Haul away, my bullies, 
In Rotterdam, Marseilles, Orleans, 
And each of em taught me what love means; 

Haul away, my bullies . . . 
But there is a girl that stands apart, 
I can never get her out of my heart, 

Haul away, my bullies; 

OH, I TRY TO FORGET, BUT I NEVER CAN, 
THE GIRL THAT MARRIED ANOTHER MAN 

Haul away, my bullies! 



29] 



THE DOLDRUMS 

A STILL-LIFE PICTURE 

A HE sails hang dead, or they lift and flap 

like a cornfield scarecrow s coat, 
And the seabirds swim abreast of us like ducks 

that play, a-float, 
And the sea is all an endless field that heaves 

and falls a-far 
As if the earth were taking breath on some 

strange, alien star, 
For there are miles and miles of weed that 

tramp around and round 
Till a fellow s tempted to step out and try if 

it s the ground. 
And, sometimes, when we strike a space that s 

clear of wild sea-grass 
Our faces look up true and smooth as from a 

looking glass - 
For unwrinkled as a baby s smile the ocean lies 

about 
And a pin would break in ripples if we only 

cast one out. . . . 
But the skipper isn t happy for there s not a 

wind that blows, - 
And beware the Mate s belaying pin as up the 

deck he goes, 
For the ship, she s rolling, rolling like a nigger 

on a spree 

C30] 



\nd the cargo s almost shifted as we wallow 

in the sea 
Because, out somewhere miles away a storm 

is waking hell. . . . 
\nd up smooth lifts of bubbling weed we ride 

the rolling swell. . . . 
3h, each inch of us is crawling with the itch of 

prickly heat; 
*Ve can hear our own blood throbbing like a 

Chinese tom-tom s beat 
\nd we catch a voice that s lifted, though it 

hardly seems in prayer 
.t s the poor old cook that s cursing in the 

boiling galley there. . . . 
3h, the region of the doldrums, for the devil it 

was made 
\nd all decent seamen hate it as they pray for 

winds of trade 
\.s they flounder toward the trade-winds where 

the sails lift full and free 
\nd once more the prow runs onward foaming 

through the open sea. 



GOOD-BYE! 

A CHANTEY TO BE SUNG AT THE CAPSTAN 

(jOOD-BYE to Dirty Kate s saloon 

(Walk er round) 
As we slither past the last sand dune. 

(Walk er round 

We re outward bound). 

Good-bye to all our friends in town 

(We re outward bound) 
Our FRIENDS while we had half a crown. 

(Walk er round 

We re outward bound) 

Good-bye to the rum that scrapes like wire, 

(Walk er round) 
And whiskey with its claws of fire. 

(Walk er round 

We re outward bound) 

Good-bye to the gravestones on the hill 

(We re outward bound) 
Above the town where we got our fill 

(Walk er round 

We re outward bound) 

CsO 



Our fill of the kind that cry "give, give!" 

(Walk er round) 
Of the people that say "we ve got to live!" 

(Walk er round 

We re outward bound). . . . 

Good-bye, till we come to get trimmed again; 

(We re outward bound) 
For it s always the way with sailormen! 

(Walk er round 

We re outward bound) 

For there s something about this going to sea 

(Walk er round) 
That makes a fellow big and free. 

(Walk er round 

We re outward bound) 

So lean on your bars and walk er round 

(We re outward bound) 
There s a good stiff wind, and we re outward 

bound! . . . 
Thank God, boys, we re outward bound! 

(Walk er round 

We re outward bound) 



C333 



THE CHANTEY OF THE COOK 

DITHYRAMB OF A DISCONTENTED CREW 



T 



HE Devil take the cook, that old, grey- 
bearded fellow, 
Yo ho, haul away! 

Who feeds us odds and ends and biscuits whisk 
ered yellow. 
(And the home port s a thousand miles away.) 

The Devil take the cook, that dirty old duffer, 

Yo ho, haul away! 
Each day he makes the captain fatter and bluffer, 

(But we ll have to eat hardtack for many a 
day). 

The ship-biscuit s mouldy and the spuds we 

get are rotten, 
Yo ho, haul away! 
And the tinned goods that s dished up is seven 

years forgotten, 
Yo ho, haul away! 

And each, in his heart, has marked the cook 

for slaughter, 

(And it won t do him any good to pray). 
For the coffee s only chickery half-soaked in 

luke-warm water, 
Yo ho, haul away! 

C34H 



It s put on your best duds and join the dele 
gation; 

Yo ho, haul away! 
We re aft to ask the captain for a decent 

ration, 
(And to drop the cook at Botany Bay. . . .) 

Look here, you cabin boy, what has set you 

laughin ? 

Yo ho, haul away! 
Don t tell us no lies or we ll clout your ears for 

chaffin , 

For we re not a lot of horses that can live 
on hay. 

What s this you re tellin ? Is it plum duff and 

puddin ? 

Yo ho, haul away! 
Why not make it roast beef and let it be a good 

un? 

For plum duff and rum s not a feast for 
every day. 

Oh, it ain t the cook s fault that we EAT one day 

in seven. 

Yo ho, haul away! 
ilt s the owners of the ship, may they never 

get to heaven 
(No matter how hard they pray). 



It s the owners of the ship that give us meat that s 

yellow, 

Yo ho, haul away! 

And after all the cook s a mighty decent fellow 
(Though we ll have to eat rotten grub for 
many a day). 

O Lord up in heaven, when THEIR souls and 

bodies sever, 
Yo ho, haul away! 

May the owners squat in hell gnawing at salt- 
horse forever 
And the grub that they give us every day. . . . 

Excepting for one thing, O Lord God in heaven, 

Yo ho, haul away! 
Don t let them have no plum duff one day in 

seven, 

(All together with great vigor) 
But forever and forever and unto eternity the 

truck that we re fed on every day, Amen! 



AT SEA I LEARNED THE WEATHER 



AT 



sea I learned the weather, 
At sea I learned to know 
That waves raged not forever, 
Winds did not ever blow. 

I learned that, mid the thunder, 
Was nothing might avail 

But lying to and riding 
The storm with scanted sail, 

Knowing that calm would follow 
Filled full of golden light 

Though hail and thunder deafened 
The watches of the night. 

And, now today I m sailing 
The changing seas no more, 

But tied up to a woman 
And snug and safe ashore, 

With pipe and baccy handy 
And Sal still loving me 

I tell you that I m thankful 
For things I learned at sea! 



i 



CLIPPER DAYS 

A SONG FROM SNUG HARBOUR 

An Old Sailor to A Young One 



AM eighty year old and somewhat, 
But I give to God the praise 
That they made a sailor of me 
In the good old Clipper Days 

When men loved ships like women, 

And going to sea was more 
Than signing on as deckhand 

And scrubbing a cabin floor, 

Or chipping rust from iron 

And painting . . . and chipping again. 
In the days of Clipper Sailing 

The sea was the place for men: 

You could spy our great ships running 

White-clouded, tier on tier; 
You could hear their trampling thunder 

As they leaned to, racing near; 

And it was "heigh and ho, my lad," 
And "we are outward bound," 

And we sang full many a chantey 
As we walked the capstan round, 

38] 



And we sang full many a chantey 
As we drove through wind and wet 

To the music of Five Oceans 

Ringing in my memory yet. . . . 

Go drive your dirty freighters 
That fill the sky with reek, 

But we we took in sky-sails 
High as a mountain-peak; 

Go, fire your sweaty engines 
And watch your pistons run, 

We had the winds to serve us, 
The living winds, my son, 

And we didn t need propellers 

That kicked a mess about, 
But we hauled away with chanteys 

Or we let the great sails out. . . . 

And I m eighty year old and somewhat 
And I give to God the praise 

That they made a sailor of me 
In the good old Clipper Days! 



THE STEAMBOAT SAILOR S REPLY 

T CAN T talk back to you, Daddy, but give me a 

* word or two: 

Things change, and the world goes onward, and 

there s always something new 
In spite of the Wise Kings saying (to God be all 

the praise), 
And men still seek out new things and search for 

better ways. 



I grant there s nothing finer than a full-rigged 

ship at sea 
With the rising moon behind her, or the sinking 

sun a-lee, 
But there s also naught surpasses the unceasing 

engine room 
Where the harnessed fire and lightning pushes 

onward through the gloom 
And the living rods and pistons plunge with a 

continued might 
While a hundred golden port-holes go a-sweeping 

down the night, - 
And the furnaces, red-flaring, with the small, 

black shapes close by 
Of the men that feed their hunger: let the 

Strength of Them reply! . . . 



We don t roll and wait the wind s will, nay, we 

go our constant ways 
Where you lay, becalmed and cursing, in those 

Good Old Clipper Days; 
We go trailing smoky banners round the world 

and back again; 
Tide and wind, they wait upon us and obey the 

will of men. 
With the strength of many horses now the 

milky-turning screw 
Beats the wave-bulk to submission as we lift 

and thunder through; 
Head-on to the wind we labour, we defy the 

tempest s will 
Where you rode bare-stripped, or waited for the 

hollow sails to fill; 
We make ports you never thought of, we hail 

coasts you never knew, 
We go ramming up wide rivers like an ocean 

to the view, 
We go in and out of islands where the reefs lie 

under hand, - 
We began the Great Surrender of the Wind to 

Man s Command, 
When big wing-spread ships will wander down 

the reaches of the clouds, 
And they won t need steam as we do, as we don t 

need sails and shrouds, 



And they ll climb the top of heaven with ten 

cargoes to our one, 
And their tracks will reach from sunrise to the 

setting of the sun. . . . 
And, sometime, I ll maybe sit here, full of age, 

and sing the praise 
In the ears of young air-sailors Of the Good Old 

Steamboat Days! 



42:1 



THE OLD SAILOR S REMEDY 

HEN love is driving hard ahead 

Through squall on gusty squall 
There s nothing like a ship at sea 

With masts square-rigged and tall . . . 
Jack swears that he will never, 

He will never love again: 
(They ve nosed the ship from harbour 

Through the grey, enormous rain); 
Jim vows that he will never 

Look again in Mary s eyes: 
(And both of them believe their oaths 

Yet what they swear is lies!) 
Oh Billy and his girl were out 

For many a doleful day: 
The only remedy for all 

Was for to sail away, 
To sail away, to sail away 

Forgetting girls and love 

Where, white as new-washed sheep, the 
waves 

Crowd onward, drove on drove. . . . 

Oh, heave the rattling anchor up 

And walk the capstan round - 
They ve left the god of love behind, 

They re free, and outward bound. . . 



One day ... and two . . . the ocean sweep* 

And curdles at the prow - 
Then comes a pull to Billy s mouth 

A pucker to Jim s brow, 
And Jack, he climbs, disconsolate, 

To reef the sails above - 
They re thinking, Oh, they re thinking 

Of the little girls they love. . . . 
It isn t very long before 

The ship s a secret flame 
As every seaman, night and day, 

Repeats some woman s name, 
And, as they holystone the deck, 

Or chip the rust, or paint, 
The things they didn t like in them 

Seem virtues of a saint: 
Oh, some say this, and some say that 

When sweethearts don t agree 
But I say KEEP THE GIRLS AT HOME 

AND SHIP THE LADS TO SEA. 



C443 



Oi 



THE SAILOR S FAREWELL 

A CHANTEY 



! H, what will you do, my own love, 
When you go down to sea? 

I ll pull upon the halyards 
At portside and at lee. 

And is there nothing else, love? 

I ll climb the whistling shrouds 
And sing, and take in sky-sails 

Away up in the clouds. 

There s something you ve forgotten! . . 

- I ll walk my watch by night 
While all the stars of heaven 
Lean over, height on height. 

Is this the way you leave me? 

love, you break my heart! 

I ve hugged you and I ve kissed you, 
How else may lovers part? 

If you have nothing better! . . . 

I ll wear upon my breast 
The picture that you gave me 

And say your love is best. 

At halyards and at sky-sails, 

At watch, both night and day! . . . 

AT LAST YOU VE SAID THE RIGHT WORDS 

1 WANTED YOU TO SAY? 



THE FOG 



TH: 



E fog fell: lamps were filled and lit; 
They glimmered in mid-day, - 
And, step by step, men went abroad 
Into a world all grey. 



A SAILOR S LIFE 



o 



H, a sailor hasn t much to brag 
An oilskin suit and a dunnage bag. 
But, howsoever humble he be, 
By the Living God, he has the sea! 

The long, white leagues and the foam of it, 
And the heart to make a home of it, 
On a ship that kicks up waves behind 
Through the blazing days and tempests blind. 

Oh, a sailor hasn t much to love 
But he has the huge, blue sky above, 
The everlasting waves around, 
That wash with an eternal sound. 

So bury me, when I come to die, 

Where the full-sailed, heeling clippers ply; 

Give up the last cold body of me 

To the only home that I have the sea! 



w, 



JIM 



E couldn t make him out: he seldom spoke; 
We never caught him smiling at a joke 
And yet he was a decent lad for work: 
On watch or off, he was the last to shirk 
So that, among ourselves, we came to say, 
"Jim, he s alright, he s only got his way." 
Yet, somehow, in each storm he didn t care. 
His life or death seemed only God s affair 
So when the cry came, in a Nor west Blow, 
"Man overboard!" we each one seemed to know; 
From the main topsail yardarm he had gone 
Into the boiling seas . . . the ship held on; 
There was no saving him in such a gale. 
Then, when the dawn came, wide, and grey, and 

pale, 

We brought his sea-chest aft with all it stored 
(The custom when a man goes overboard). 
It held the usual things that sailors own; 
But, at the bottom, in a box, alone, 
We found a woman s picture and we knew, 
Now, why he d been so offish with the crew 
He d written it as plain as plain could be 
"She went and married HIM instead of me!" 



C48] 



SHANGHAIED 

SHANGHAIED! . . . i swore ra stay ashore 

And sail the wide, wide seas no more! . . . 

Shanghaied! shanghaied! 
Shanghaied with pals I ve never known, 
And my heart s as heavy as a stone. . . . 

Shanghaied! . . . shanghaied! 

Yes, here s the wide, grey sea again 

And the work that takes the souls from men, 

Shanghaied! . . . shanghaied! 
Yes, yon s the mist they call the shore, 
And here are the ropes I must haul once more 

Shanghaied! . . . shanghaied! 

Shanghaied and on a ship I hate, 

With a cur for a captain, a brute for a mate. . . 

Shanghaied! . . . shanghaied! 
Oh, when I set my foot ashore 
I ll drink no more . . . and I ll sail no more! 

Shanghaied! Shanghaied! 



C493 



THE SAILOR S RETURN 



o 



H love of mine, what shall I do 
When your ship comes sailing home 
With its white sails in the sky 
And its wake all white with foam. 

Meet me at the silent bend 
Where the river runs to sea; 

Have the cottage fire a-glow, 
Kettle on the hob for me. 

There s a kettle on the hob 
And the fire is a-light. 

Set a lamp to guide me in, 

I might come when it is night. 

Nay, I have my bride-dress on, 
Nothing can my vow undo, 

They ve bound me to another man, 
To another, not to you. 

Sweetheart, what is that to me ! 
I will neither bless nor ban . . . 

My body s fifty fathom down; 
I m a ghost, and not a man! 



THE ENDLESS LURE 

W HEN I was a lad I went to sea 
And they made a cabin boy of me. 

(Yo ho, haul away, my bullies) 
We d hardly put out from the bay 
When my knees sagged in and my face turned 
grey; 

So I went to the captain and I implored 

That he d let the pilot take me aboard, 

And fetch me back to the land again 

Where the earth was sure for the feet of men. . . . 

But the Captain, he laughed out strong, and 

said, 

"You ll follow the sea, lad, till you re dead; 
For it gets us all the sky and the foam 
And the waves and the wind, till a ship seems 

home." 

When I shipped as an A. B. before the mast 
I swore each voyage would be my last. . . . 
Was always vowing, and meant it, too, 
That I d never sign with another crew. . . . 

You tell me "The Castle" is outward bound, 
An old sky-sailor, for Puget Sound? 



CsO 



"Too old!" . . . but I know the sea like a 

book. . . . 
Well, I ve heard that your "Old Man" needs a 

cook! . . . 

Yes, I could rustle for twenty men. . . . 
So, God be praised, you can use me, then? . . . 
Oh, there s only a few years left for me, 
And I want to die, and be buried at sea! 



C52] 



SAILORMEN 

W HEN our ship gets home again, after 

cruising up and down, 
Where the old, familiar hills crowd above the 

little town, 
Oh, we ll reef the weary sails in the shelter of 

the bay, 
And we ll find it just the same as the hour we 

went away 
With the steeple of the church through the 

tree tops peering out, 
With the same accustomed streets, and the 

friends we knew, about. 

Oh, we ll sit before the hearth and we ll smoke 
a pipe or so, 

And we ll have a pot of ale at the inn before 
we go, 

And we ll kiss the prettiest girls, and we ll tell 
the children tales 

Of the countries that we ve seen, of the ship 
wrecks and the gales, 

Till the cargo s battened down, and we re out 
ward bound once more 

While the sea goes rushing back to the far, 
receding shore. 



CS3] 



THE WRECK 



s 



EARED bone-white by the glare of summer 

weather, 

Cast side-long, on the barren beach she lies, 
She who once brought the earth s far ends 

together 
And ransacked East and West for merchandise. 

The sea-gulls cluster on her after-deck 

Resting from the near seas that wash and 
fall. , . . 

But, I have heard, at night this side-cast wreck 
(When all the belfry bells at midnight call) 

Puts up sail and goes out past mortal seeing: 
Once more the oceans break beneath her will 

And she resumes the breath of her old being; 
She lives the dreams that slumber in her still. 

Thrilling as down the windy Dark she slopes, 
Ecstatic, as her sails grow great with wind 

She feels the seamen walking with her ropes, 
The harbour dropping like a star behind. 



C54H 



THE STORM 



T, 



HE sea rose and the crests swept by 
Like clouds of white, close-flying birds 
And the wind drove from sky to sky 
The waves illimitable herds; 

And, though a thousand miles from land, 

We heard innumerable feet, 
A motion and commingled sound 

Like routed armies in retreat. 



n 55 3 



THE SHIPWRECKED SAILOR 

HERE blossomed into golden day another 
rosy morn: 

The shipwrecked sailor woke, and watched 
again, of hope forlorn, 

From his high, purple-misted peak, a rag about 
his hip: 

His only dream, his native land his only 
prayer, a ship! 

The fringe of surf laced in and out along the 
shell-strewn shore; 

Beside the reef strange creatures sailed plying 
a sentient oar, 

And, great and wide, the sea rolled far in azure 
distance dim 

And laved the edges of the sky with its blue- 
washing rim. 

The sailor thought of paven streets in a far, 
smoky town 

Where day and night the cable-cars went boom 
ing up and down: 

Each little common thought of men smote 
through him like a dart, 

And memories of a woman winged like white 
birds through his heart. 



WIND-JAMMER S SONG 

1845. CLIPPER DAYS 

2\LL hands on deck, below there! 

The storm is coming soon, 
The clouds tramp on in panic 

Across the swirling moon. 

The wind pipes in the halyards, 
We lean with scanted sail; 

Now, with a leap, we re riding 
The first rush of the gale; 

The lubbers in their cabins 
Crouch close and pray for life: 

The young man free and single, 
The old man, by his wife; 

And one would give his fortune, 
And one, his love so fair, 

For solid earth to stand on 
If but a furlong square. 

It s up the shrouds, my hearties, 
And reef the gansells tight, 

The blow that we are having 

May blow the world from sight. . 



Tomorrow, lads, the landsmen, 
How they will strut and lie, 

And we we ll squirt tobacco 
And wink the other eye, 

Saying, as we plunge onward 
With tier on tier of sail 

"I ve seen worse in my time, sir, 
Yet twas a proper gale!" 



C58] 



THE CHANT OF THE DERELICT 



D 



RIFTING, drifting here with the tide 
While the seams that the sea-weeds caulk gape 

wide 
Like a star with eternity for its bride 

I accept the measureless sea - 
While trampling oceans break in foam 
Comb over phosphorescent comb 

Over and over me. 

Driven, driven at the wind s will 
Through dawns and midnights far and still 
While the sun, as huge as the top of a hill, 

Heaves from, sinks in, the Main, 
To the north, to the south, to the east, to the 

west 
I plunge and plunge my blackened breast 

And turn and turn again. 

And ever I dream of the shifting feet 

Of seamen above, and the whistle sweet 

Though the driving rain and the wind and the 

sleet - 

Of the bo sun that calls in storm. . . . 
And the ships that I have known in the 

Past 

Grow, full-sailed, on the ghostly blast, 
Form over swelling form. . . . 



Thank God that I, though black-decayed, 
Through the broken path of the moon still wade 
Or where dawns like shimmering silks invade 

The drab of the eastern skies, - 
That still I wallow through trembling stars 
And shatter them into silver bars 

Where a Way of Wonder lies, - 

I, a Derelict, broken and vast, 
By every wave that lips me cast 
Till I think each lift will be my last 

Ere I sink to the depths below, 
Where a thousand comrades, strewn along, 
Made brave by legend and tale and song 

Wait, coral-grown, in a row. . . . 

Tis said that they ve charted me, marked me 

down 

As a drifting thing of ill-renown 
By the varying tides and breezes sown 

In the paths of orderly ships, - 
I, who have carried their India wares, 
And, running about the world s affairs, 

Have met all seas at grips! 

Alas, for the thankless heart of Man, 
That, full of service, the Survey s ban 
Should fall on me who, full-rigged, ran 
From edge to edge of the sky. . . . 



But, ah, I shall speak once more with a ship 
A great, wide-sailed, down-bearing ship 
Ere I take my doom and die, - 

And I shall know one large embrace 

As I meet a comrade face to face 

While she comes at a stately, star-lit pace 

Over the moon-calm sea, 
Surprising her with the sudden drift 
And the ancient, loving, weed-grown lift 

Of this poor old body of me. . . . 

Oh, ever I dream of the tread of feet 

And the sound of the bo sun s whistle sweet 

And so I am glad, I am glad to greet 

The unwary ships that pass, 
Though they come on me like the hiss of 

hail 
That rides the top of a grey-maimed gale 

And tinkle like breaking glass; 

For to me they are love, to me they are 

life 

And a long-sought woman taken to wife 
After courtship s dallying strife, - 

Alas, that they sink in the sea! 
But tis the fault of the ghosts that steer, 
Not mine, that they are cloven sheer, 

By the high, gaunt sides of me! 



Drifting, drifting here with the tide 

While the seams that the sea-weeds caulk gape 

wide 
I wait, I wait for the full broadside 

Of the wave that will bring my doom 
When I ll sink at last, to lurch endlong, 
Myself a memory and a song, - 

Asleep in the great, green gloom! 



T, 



SEASIDE TALKERS 

PROVINCETOWN, SUMMER OF 1917 



HEY drank the bitter, salt wine of the sea, 
They breathed up drowning bubbles from below 
While we sat in the storm s red after-glow 
Discussing Art and Love and sipping tea. 
I was a poet, he, an artist; she, 
A famous actress . . . lightly to and fro 
We shuttled epigrams as salesmen show 
Rich silks that change in colors momently. 

And while the fishers clung to planks and spars 
And rode the huge backs of the waves, we sat 
Beneath a young night full of summer stars: 
And we discussed of life this way and that 
Until we felt, when we arose for bed, 
That there was nothing left had not been said. 



SAID THE CAPTAIN TO ME 

OTHING but damn fools sail the sea," 
Said the Captain to me. 

"I have a young son," says the Captain to me, 
"I m damned if he ever shall sail the sea!" 



64] 



THEN 

VV HEN all the sea s high ships 

Have dropped beyond my sky 
And life s trumpet leaves my lips 
And women pass me by 
Dear God, let me die! 



THE BEACH COMBER 

D like to return to the world again, 
To the dutiful, work-a-day world of men, 
For I m sick of the beach-comber s lazy lot, 
Of the one volcano flaming hot, 
With the snow round its edge and the fire in its 

throat, 

And this tropical island that seems a-float 
Like a world set in space all alone in the sea. . . . 
How I wish that a ship, it would stop for me. 
I m sick of the brown girl that loves me, I m 

sick 
Of the cocoanut groves, you can t take me too 

quick 
From this place, though it s rich in all nature 

can give. . . . 

For I want to return where it s harder to live, 
Where men struggle for life, where they work 

and find sweet 
Their rest after toil, and the food that they 

eat. . . . 
What? A ship s in the offing? . . . dear God, 

let me hide, - 

They re in need of a sailor, are waiting the tide 
To put off? ... I will hide where the great 

cliff hangs sheer - 
Give em mangoes and goats, and don t tell em 

I m here! 

C66] 



THE BALLAD OF ENGLISH JOHN, 
THE BUCCANEER 



i 



DIDN T think that I d be caught, 

But, midway in the fight, 
A score of Spaniards bore me down 

And covered me from sight, - 
Then, on my feet, I found my arms 

Drawn backward, bound and tight. 

They dragged me down below in chains, 

They feared to set me free; 
I lay there in the drip and slime 

And listened to the sea; 
They gave me bread I couldn t eat, 

And rats ran over me. 

I dreamed, to wake and dream again 

Of wild, free ocean ways, - 
My life grew big before me like 

A spark that makes a blaze. . . . 
We seemed to sail for endless nights 

And weary, endless days. 

At last, "get up, you Englishman," 
I heard ... a torch flared red. . . . 

One booted at my rattling ribs, 
One bashed me in the head. . . . 

"My friends, I hope we meet in hell," 
Were all the words I said. 



They rode me inland to Madrid 

A-rolling in a cart; 
They threw me out and broke my arm 

That couldn t break my heart, - 
And I sat up and cursed all Spain 

In bower and hall and mart. 

They dragged me to a scaffold, next; 

Though ended now my play, 
Yet, in my final scene of life, 

I stood up in the day: 
I kicked the hangman, laughed at death, 

Which made the ladies gay: 

The ladies whispered, "it s a shame," 

(Each fluttering her fan) 
"Aye, it s a shame his life must fall 

Beneath the hangman s ban!" 
And each one thought within her heart 

I was a proper man. 



[683 



A CARIBBEAN FANTASY 

OAILING the Caribbean Main 
In the latter days of Spain 
Through amber deeps I could behold 
Great galleons bright with sunken gold. 
My boat, of quaintest mother-of-pearl, 
Was steered by my brown Indian girl. 
We saw ships with their rigging down 
Go limping to Havanna Town, 
Beaten and faint from English stour 
In the red wane of Spain s last power, 
Ships under blue and purple sails 
And weighted down with spicy bales. 
I looked on them and "Love," quoth I, 
"What profits it to do and die?- 
Better to dream with an Indian Girl 
In a ship of pearl, on a sea of pearl. " 



C693 



BUCCANEER DAYS 

JL HERE were a host of galleons in the wild 

sea days of yore 
Whose spacious holds were heavy-wombed with 

tons of sunny ore. 
Their ammirals, primal-hearted men, who cut 

men s throats with tears, 
Wore rainbow sashes round their loins and gold 

rings in their ears, 
And for the English buccaneers they kept a 

weather eye 
As the gaunt and savage wolf holds watch for 

the eagle from the sky. 

Oh brave Sir Walter Raleigh, he who crushed 

the Spanish power, 
The Great Queen kissed him at the Court and 

killed him in the Tower, 
The captains and the ammirals, some strangled 

neath the foam, 
And some were buried with acclaim and elegy at 

home. 
Above their final dwelling place a visored figure 

lies 
With pious Latin epitaph and hands crossed 

Christianwise. 
The fleet ships, having known their times, 

rotted in bight and bay, 



Or at the bottom of the sea and naught 
remains today 

Of the first great youth of England and the 
haughty prime of Spain 

But a broken bolt, a blunderbuss, and a grin 
ning skull or twain. 



GHOST-SONG OF THE SPANISH 
BUCCANEERS 

VV E are the Spanish Buccaneers, none braver 

ever died, - 
We waded through five hells of sand with 

nothing but our pride, 
Our Spanish pride and our lust for gold and 

nothing else beside. 

Oh, ever our fevered nights were hung with 

strange new stars a-swim 
As we mixed barbaric litanies with credo and 

with hymn, 
While every morn an alien dawn flared up the 

desert s rim. . . . 

One noon we glimpsed a shining lake that silver- 
lit the plain; 

But trees grew nigh it upside-down, then right- 
side-up again, - 

And we knew it was the Devil s lie, and prayed 
to God for rain; 

And once we saw a fleet of ships that sailed 

along the sand 
Where a sea that never was, broke white on a 

dim, dissolving strand, - 
And we prayed to Christ, as children do, and 

trudged on hand in hand. . . . 



Oh, ever the Cities of Cibola, we saw them in 

our sleep: 
Their climbing tops sat in the sky like clouds 

piled heap on heap, 
And we laughed apart like madmen, each with 

his own dream to keep. . . . 
And, though we never got to them, but, one by 

one, sank down, 
The Seven Cities of Cibola belie not their 

renown, 
But, somewhere, yet, they wait our quest, each 

star-encircled town! 



WHEN THRAN WAS KING 

VIKING SONG 

In memory of Theodore Roosevelt 

HERE was never rust on the oarlocks 

When Thran was king; 
Our ships were as swift as swallows 

On dipping wing; 
There was never rust on the spearhead 

Nor on the sword 
When Thran, that mighty viking, 

Was over-lord. 
How we shouted at the oar-sweeps 

As down the day 
Our beaked prows clove asunder 

Their foamy way. . . . 

Multitudinous as armies 

That bivouac wide 
The stars they camped about us, 

And the great tide 
Was powdered golden with them 

Till we beheld 
That naught was true but Magic 

And, wonder-spelled, 
We knew Romance was greater 

Than Fact can say 
As the dawn set us, golden, 

In golden day. . . . 

C743 



Oh, there were lands to greet us 

Fringed round with foam 
That almost slew forever 

All thoughts of home; 
Oh, there were copper women 

In isles sun-trod 
Who bent down low before us, 

Each man, a god; 
And there were ancient cities 

That loomed alone 
Each shining tower a ruby, 

A gem, each stone. . . . 

Yea, weVe come back to Norland, 

Now Thran has died, 
To men who love their bellies 

And naught beside, 
Who think that we are children 

And smile askance, 
Daring not drink the vintage 

Of High Romance. . . . 
Aye, fat smoke wreathes the cottage; 

There s much to eat: 
You ve full grain from the harvest, 

YouVe good red meat 
But, though you call us madmen, 

We ll ever sing 
Of the great years of wonder 

When Thran was king! 



THERE WAS A LITTLE QUEEN IN 
EGYPT 

GALLEY-SLAVE CHANTEY 

Sung at the Oars 

HERE was a little Queen in Egypt, 
(Long, a very long time ago) 
Fell in love with a Roman Captain; 

(It s chill and bleak, but the wind must blow), 

She had a thousand girls to serve her; 

(We ve left the jettied port behind) 
The weight of all her rubies tired her, 

(But when were chains of iron kind?) 

They cooked ten wild boars for her dinner, 
(Bring on, bring on your mouldy bread) 

And brought them in on golden platters, 
(Yo ho! the open sea s ahead!) 

Her slaves played all night long on zithers, 
(And we must row and row till dawn) 

And She and her Captain loafed in purple, 
(And we ve but tattered loin-clothes on). 

Wine red and white it flowed like rivers. . . 

(And it s brackish water we get to drink) 
The world was a tossed-up ball between em, 

(These long nights make a fellow think). 

C76] 



They say they tossed the ball and they lost it, 
(The stars will be coming pretty soon) 

That now they lie on a windy headland, 

( Wish that was the sun instead of the 
moon). 

They say that they sleep and sleep forever, 
(While we pull hard in the wind and Wet), 

Laid forever away in the darkness, 

(And it s precious little sleep we get) 

Side by side in the empty silence - 
O Queen of Egypt, O Captain-King, 

We, slaves, and chained to our oars, salute you! 
God was good and you had your fling! 



C773 



THE CHANTEY OF NOAH AND HIS 
ARK 

Old Father Noah, be built him an ark. . . 
Roofed it over with hickory bark 



o, 



OLD SCHOOL SONG 



H, Noah went up to the hills, a just man 

and a good, 

(Yo ho, lads, the rain must fall), 
He built an Ark, the Good Book says, of pitch 

and gopher wood; 

(And the water, it tumbles over all). 
The children danced before him, and the Grown 
ups laughed, behind; 
They thought that there was something wrong 

with Goodman s Noah s mind. . . . 
And when they met him coming back for 

needments and supplies, 
The dancing girls and dancing men leered, 

mocking, in his eyes, 
And as he left the town once more and sought 

the hillward track, 
The boys sent shouts and whistles shrill behind 

the old man s back. 
Oh, Noah took the animals and saved them, two 

by two; 
The elephant, the leopard, and the zebra, and 

the gnu, 

C78 3 



The goose, the ox, the lion, and the stately unicorn 
That breasted up the gangway with his single, 

jaunty horn, 

The hipporgriff, the oryx, all created things, in fine, 
Till the dim procession straggled from the far 

horizon line. 
There was neighing, squealing, barking, there 

was many a snort and squeak, 
Every sound that God gives animals because 

they cannot speak; 
And they waddled and they straddled, and they 

ambled, and they ran, 
And they crawled and traipsed and sidled, each 

one after nature s plan. 
There was pattering of hooves and toes and lift 

of hairy knees 
Oh, it was the greatest cattleboat that ever 

sailed the seas. . . . 
There was never any showman ever gave such 

a parade 
As those beasts, that wended arkward, for the 

gaping people made; 
And Noah s townsmen wished him well who 

once had wished him ill - 
For they hoped he planned a circus on his 

solitary hill 
Where he d charge so much admission at the 

ark s red-postered door 
Offering such a show as mankind never set eyes 

on before. . . . 



But the sky grew dark with thunder throbbing 

like an angry drum 
And the gazers saw with terror that the thing 

they d mocked had come, 
And that what had seemed a circus marching 

slowly in parade 
Was the end of all creation and the world s 

last cavalcade. 
Oh, the lightning dangled nearer like a madman s 

rattling chain. . . . 
As an army moves to battle came the growing 

sound of rain: 
And it rained . . . and rained . . . and rained 

. . . and rained ... as we do understand, 
Till the earth was filled with water and there 

wasn t any land! 

OH, NOAH WAS A JUST MAN, A JUST MAN AND A 
GOOD. . . . 

(YO HO, LADS, THE RAIN MUST FALL) 
HE BUILT THE ARK, THE GOOD BOOK SAYS, OF 

PITCH AND GOPHER WOOD, 
(AND THE WATER, IT TUMBLED OVER ALL). 



WHEN HAM AND SHEM AND 
JAPHET - 



Wi 



A SAILOR S SONG 



HEN Ham and Shem and Japhet 

They walked the capstan round 
Upon the strangest vessel 

Was ever outward bound, 
The music of their voices 

From wave to welkin rang: 
They sang the first sea-chantey 

That seamen ever sang: 
They sang of towns they d been to, 

Of girls that they had known, 
Of what they d done as children, 

Of how the years had flown, 
Of fights they d had, and friendships, 

Of many a hearty spree - 
The same as every sailor 

That sails upon the sea. . . . 

Now Noah, he was sitting 

Alone and glum, below, 
A-puzzling just a little 

Why things were ordered so, 
(For, though his soul accepted 

What God commanded, still, 
At times he knew misgivings 

As every good man will) - 



When up above he heard them 

A-singing, outward bound, 
And walking, walking, walking, 

Walking the capstan round, 
Then, just as quick, his worry, 

Passed, like a gust of wind, 
And he shinned up the ladder 

And left his doubts behind, 
And, with his great beard flowing, 

His grey robe pulled a-skew, 
He walked the capstan with them; 

He started singing, too! 



C82] 



THE CHANTEY OF JONAH 

JL HEY D amulets and written charms, they d 

little gods of stone, 
And teraphim of ivory and wood and polished 

bone; 

They d images of ebony and images of jade 
That swarthy seamen worshipped, following the 

Tarshish trade; 
The Captain s god was Merodach, all wrought 

of beaten gold, 
And richer than the merchandise they treasured 

in the hold 
The First Mate held his silver Baal ... a 

polished stick of wood 
The ring-eared Ethiopian owned, and swore it 

did him good, 
And twice a day they knelt to pray and knock 

their heads and groan 
Before their gold and ivory, their silver, wood, 

and stone. 
The sea was like a shield of blue to the horizon s 

rim 
As forth they put from Joppa with their gods 

and teraphim, 
With that one bearded man aboard who down 

the gangway trod 
So swift in haste for Tarshish he forgot to bring 

his god. . . . 



"By Merodach," the Captain swore, who 

walked the deck alone, 
"He hasn t even got a god of common wood or 

stone!" 
"Now by my silver Baal," swore the Mate, 

"he s bold, to go 

Without a god to kneel before when storms be 
gin to blow!" . . . 
The savage black man pitied him in case a wind 

should rise 

And wash the hissing waters up against be 
leaguered skies; 
But Jonah laughed and went below, when he 

was snug aboard, 
Assured that he d out-sped, at last, the Presence 

of The Lord: 
What though the doom of Nineveh hung dark 

upon the air, 
He cast the prophet s robe aside, and slept, 

and did not care. 
Then God sent forth a wind to sea to search 

His Prophet out: 
The tackles creaked, the oars were shipped, the 

seamen clumped about; 
The waves, that flashed like fire abaft and 

tumbled with a roar, 
Were crowding on the deck in heaps and coming 

more and more; 



Their curling tops were lifted sheer and pelted 

through the air. . . . 
And then the Wind sped back to God, and said, 

"Thy Man is there!" 
And God sent forth another wind, a greater 

Wind by far, 
That twisted like a twig of tree both sturdy 

mast and spar, - 
And THAT wind came, and said to Him, "Thy 

Man indeed is blind 
That thinks, by going down to sea, he s left 

Thee, Lord, behind!" 
"Oh, yet a little while," quoth God, "and he 

shall ponder well 
The Shadow of my Hand spreads black above 

the Red of Hell, 
The Shadow of my Hand is cast on utmost 

wastes of sea, 
And even huge Leviathan before my wrath must 

flee, - 
And there is nothing lives at all without the 

aid of Me!" 
The Negro knelt before his Stick and prayed 

with clicking tongue. 
Each man unwrapped his little god and to its 

succour clung 
(Each little god of ebony, and jade, and wood, 

and stone, 



Each image made of ivory, and shaped of 

polished bone) 
In vain the Mate made oaths to Baal, in vain 

the Captain told 
Of what an altar he would build to please his 

god of gold; 

The water flew up in his face as sharp as winter sleet ; 
It made a noise of trampling like a hundred 

thousand feet. . . . 
"Has every shipman bowed his head? Is every 

god implored?" 
"Nay, yet there bides that bearded man that 

came in haste aboard." 
"Oh, stranger, rise and lift your eyes, and if 

you have a god, 
Cry out to him to smite the waves down level 

with his rod; 
We ve even had the Nigger s Stick to listen to 

our prayer!" . . . 
Then Jonah lifted up his eyes and saw that 

God was there 
Then Jonah rose and answered back, "I brought 

no god with me, 
For who can wrap in cloth the One who made 

the sky and sea: 
I could not tuck Him in my sleeve whose mighty 

Hand has made 
The sun that is a shining thing and gives each 

tree its shade, 

C86] 



Whose thumb and finger, reaching out, hide all 

the stars in day. . . . 
And yet, when He commanded me, I thought 

to run away." 
Then, in the darkness of the storm that made 

the mid-day dim, 
The men cast lots, one after one, until it fell 

on him: 
And Jonah rose and spoke to them to cast him 

overboard 
Unto the easing of the storm, the proving of 

the Lord - 
And when they d cast him overboard a great 

voice whispered "Cease!" 
And, league on league, the mighty waves fell 

flat in shining peace. . . . 
The negro, he was first to rise and take his 

polished wood 

And send it flying overboard to float along the flood, 
A sea-gull perching on it ... then the men of 

Tarshish Trade 

Took all their little images of ivory and jade, 
Took all their helpless little gods of jacinth, 

bronze, and bone, 
Took quaint-legged, ugly, squatting things of 

wood and polished stone, 
And flung them, scorning, in the sea, and, 

as they bubbled down, 
One cried, "come back, if ye be gods, and, if 

ye be not, drown!" . . . 

C873 



The Mate flung forth his silver god his fathers 

loved of old, 
And from their Captain s fist there sped a flying 

thing of gold, - 
And, men from all the coigns of earth, they bent 

the knee aboard 
To the Mercy and the Majesty, the Glory of the 

Lord! 



H883 



HESPERIDES 



B 



>EYOND the blue rim of the world, 
Washed round with languid-lapsing seas, 
Where the Wind s wings were ever furled 
The Ancients dreamed Hesperides. 

Ship after ship each age sent forth 
To find the Islands Of the Blest; 

The loosed winds drove them south and north, 
But west they weathered, ever west. 

Sky after sky they dropped behind, 
Those mighty-handed, bearded men, 

Till, seeking what they could not find, 
They rounded upward, home again. 

A desultory waif of time 

Flying adventure from my mast, 
Twas thus I voyaged every clime 

To come back to myself at last! 



RECOLLECTION 

A BALLADE OF FORMER TRAMP-DAYS 

A HE cars lay on a siding through the night; 
The scattered yard lamps winked in green and 

red; 

I slept upon bare boards with small delight, - 
My pillow, my two shoes beneath my head; 
As hard as my own conscience was my bed; 
I lay and listened to my own blood flow; 
Outside, I heard the thunder come and go 
And glimpsed the golden squares of passing 

trains, 
Or felt the cumbrous freight train rumbling 

slow; 
And yet that life was sweet for all its pains. 

Against the tramp the laws are always right, 

So often in a cell I broke my bread 

Where bar on bar went black across my sight; 

On county road or rockpile ill I sped 

Leg chained to leg like man to woman wed, 

My wage for daily toil an oath, a blow; 

I cursed my days that they were ordered so; 

I damned my vagrant heart and dreaming brains 

That thrust me down among the Mean and 

Low 
And yet that life was sweet for all its pains. 



I crept with lice that stayed and stayed for 

spite; 

I froze in "jungles" more than can be said; 
Dogs tore my clothes, and in a woeful plight 
At many a back door for my food I pled 
Until I wished to God that I was dead. . . . 
My shoes broke through and showed an out 
burst toe; 

On every side the world was all my foe, 
Threatening me with jibe and jeer and chains, 
Hard benches, cells, and woe on endless woe - 
And yet that life was sweet for all its pains. 

Brighter, in fine, than anything I know 

Like sunset on a distant sea a-glow 

My curious memory alone maintains 

The richer worth beneath the wretched show 

Of vagrant life still sweet for all its pains. 



I VE DECKED THE TOPS 



i 



VE decked the tops of flying cars 
That leaped across the night; 
The long and level coaches skimmed 
Low, like a swallow s flight. 

Close to the sleet-bit blinds I ve clung 

Rocking on and on; 
All night I ve crouched in empty cars 

That rode into the dawn, 

Seeing the ravelled edge of life 

In jails, on rolling freights 
And learning rough and ready ways 

From rough and ready mates. 



IN 



JAIL, A TRAMP RHYTHM 



the chill, grey drip of a winter morn 
They dragged us oft to jail. 
The young moon tipped her ghostly horn 
Where a patch of mist grew pale. . . . 

Closer our ragged coats we drew, 

Though it was in the South. . . . 
The Sheriff had one eye stead of two 

And a cruel twist to his mouth. . . . 

The Yard was full of shadowy cars. ... 

A distant whistle screamed. . . . 
Switch-lights glimmered like scattered stars. . . . 

An engine clanked and steamed. . . . 

Dusk cars, dim-bodied, looming shapes, 
Stood ranged in a huddled line. . . . 

In soft release the air escapes; 
A lantern lifts, a-shine. . . . 

It lifts and falls . . . the cinders crunch. . . . 

A brakeman passes near . . . 
Then the cars jerk and roar and plunge 

Like herds that move with fear. . . . 

And so they led us off to jail 

Upon that winter morn 
When the young moon made the dusk grow pale 

With the fire of its fading horn. 

C933 



AUTOBIOGRAPHY 



MY 



father was a dark-complected man 
Who in a moment s joy my life began: 
Before him my old and erect grandsire 
Burned through, like him, with madness and a 

fire, 
And I am surely kinsman to their clan. 

I always loathed the four walls of a room, 
And the glad summer varying sun and gloom 
I revelled in, I loved to sprawl in grass 
And watch the footless wind-gusts dip and pass 
In fields of wheat, on uplands bright with bloom; 

And where the twinkling waters of the sea 
Washed outward into blue immensity 
And then came thundering shoreward sky- 
outpoured 

As if they fled in terror from the Lord, 
I raced the sands in naked ecstasy. 



C94:] 



BALLADE OF COMPLAINT AGAINST 
THE VAGRANT LIFE 



i 



SICKEN of the campfire s glow 
Which turns a ghost before the day; 
The leaf that dawdles to and fro 
Soon changes green for graveyard grey 
Though for a while it lift and play 
Clothed like a king in gold and red. . . . 
Cast into jails, unhoused, half-fed, 
How can I climb (though I be fain 
Of stars that beckon overhead), 
To heights the master minds attain? 

The moving seas where great winds blow 

I love indeed yet I gainsay 

Those slant-stacked ships that smoking go 

And leave behind a foamy way 

A bull-necked captain to obey 

Or mate who leaves no curse unsaid 

Such is the life by seamen led 

Despite the dreams romancers feign; 

And who can climb, with heart of dread, 

To heights the master minds attain? 

The burnt-out lamp that gutters low 
Casts on a songless page its ray, 
Nor can the poet, drawn with woe, 
To penury and want a prey, 
In his cold attic build that lay 



That lives when he who sang is dead; 
A thousand worries throng, instead, 
The gloomy twilight of his brain. . . . 
How can one rise, sore-pinched for bread, 
To heights the master minds attain? 

Thus I, to mighty visions wed, 
Drop twenty shafts before they re sped, 
Shoot twenty more that fly in vain. . . , 
Nor may I climb, though greatly led, 
To heights the master minds attain. 



C96] 



POOR 



THE SCARECROW WOMAN 

SOUTHAMPTON JAIL, ENGLAND 



Scarecrow Woman, worn and marred, 
Unhymned as yet by any bard - 
No limb but what is hung askew, 
No joint but what the bone shines through; 

Broken by need and greed and lust; 
With shambling foot and flattened bust, 
Removed from beauty or the saints, - 
You are the thing no artist paints! 

What brought you down so low as this 
From all that men feign woman is, 
What hidden shame or dreadful chance 
From all that poets deem romance? 

Yet, whether born, or brought to be 
This crawling thing of misery, 
You shall not go unsung to death 
With rheumy eyes and wheezy breath - 
I ll force my loathing Muse to sing 
Your fame, at last, poor scarecrow thing! 



C973 



THE CALL 



o 



H, Duty is bare and the sark of Care is 

ragged and thin and old; 
I will cast her aside and take for my bride a 

Muse in a cloth of gold. 
I have heard the call of the wind-swept pine and 

there bides no rest for me; 
My soul is drenched with clear starshine and 

drunk with the wine of the sea. 

What care I now for the broken vow and the 

word by the deed gainsaid? 
Ere the night was torn with the sun, new-born, 

my life to my fate was wed. 
I am going South to a bayou-mouth where 

quiet forever reigns, 
Where the migrant flight of the geese by night 

and the sober-stalking cranes 

And the stars that creep o er the Crystal Deep 

in the course of the Southern night 
Not yet complain of the lesser Cain who comes 

with his gun to smite. 
There the long low moan of the ocean s tone as 

it rides on the wind from far 
Doth make one think that he stands on the 

brink of a sea on another star, 



Not here where men, again and again, in a 

treadmill, day by day, 
Go round and round in a narrow bound and 

labour their joy away. 
Ere my heart grow sad and the joy I ve had 

fade out and die like a dream, 
And my soul peak thin mid the hurry and din 

and the noise of hammers and steam, 

(For the Bought and the Sold be the getting 

of gold), I will leave the City behind, 
And my soul shall be as wide and free as a 

heaven-searching wind. 
Persuade me not for a passion hot and a wild, 

wind-drifted cry 
Sweeps over me like the tides of the sea I 

must go or my soul will die. 

I have heard the call of the wind-swept pine 

and there bides no rest for me. 
My soul is drunk with clear starshine and 

drenched with the wine of the sea, 
And Duty is bare and the sark of Care is ragged 

and thin and old 
I will cast her aside and take for a bride a Muse 

in a cloth of gold. 



C993 



RIDING BY NIGHT 



T, 



HE great-wheeled, twi-domed engine waits 
Expectant, for the signal to depart; 
The fireman opens wide the furnace door 
And bares the fire s red heart; 

Then the conductor s lantern lifts and falls, 
And, down the car-thronged yards the coaches 
glide, 

And, leaping like a runner to the race, 
We gain the countryside. 

Out at the window into night I peer 

While the bright coaches hurtle through the 
gloom 

Like some swift meteor with a shining tail 
Which rushes to its doom. 

A thousand darkling fields and woods sweep 
past; 

Infrequent blurs of light go trailing by, 
And here and there a single farmhouse shows 

A pale and single eye. 



Cioo] 



THE RETURN 

JL HID behind a side-tracked car until there 

echoed clear 
As a signal of the starting, two sharp whistles 

on my ear, 
Then, with a long, laborious groan the freight 

got under way 

And ponderous cars went hulking by like ele 
phants at play. 
I gripped an iron rung and swung aboard with 

flapping coat. 
The engine sent a wailing dirge from its deep 

iron throat 
And vanished in a Cut which gaped, a brown 

gash, new and raw; 
One either side the jagged rocks, like the broken 

teeth of a saw 
Leaped up and down with naked poles and 

racing strands of wire. . . . 
Then, flash! the engine reached the plain as a 

cannon belches fire, 
Wrapped in a cloud of rolling smoke. As on and 

on we flew 

The panoramaof the fields went shifting out of view. 
A scared thrush shot up from a bush and sought 

the open sky; 
A herd of cattle raised their heads and stared 

rebukingly; 

CM* 3 



Abdve : a matching clump of trees a wind-mill 

spun its wheel, 
And from a bank of toppling cloud there crashed 

a thunder-peal. 

The sun went down, the stars came out, I 

crouched upon the coal 
Feeling as if I had been made a lone, unbodied 

soul: 
Chance with great hands might crumple me like 

any gossamer thing, 
Might o er the ramparts of the Flesh my startled 

spirit fling 
Where a scattered silver dust of worlds stream 

down through endless night 
As sun-motes in a darkened room dance down 

a shaft of light. . . . 

Now, like gigantic fireflies clustered on a Malay 

tree, 
The lamps of the division-end across the dark 

I see. . . . 
Dim boxcars huddle everywhere ... I laugh as 

I alight, 
For, safe and sound in life and limb, I m home 

again tonight! 



EXPERIENCE 



i 



N the north where leagues of forest sag be 
neath the plumey snow, 

I ve worked with lurching-shouldered lumber 
men; 
I ve seen the small, grey fishing fleets beat out 

with lifting bow 
Toward the stormy coasts of Labrador 

again; 
I ve plucked the purple-swollen grape beside the 

Great Blue Lake, 
And gathered pungent hops from off the 

vine; 
I have watched the water swirling in the clumsy 

ore-boat s wake, 

Laden down with dusty riches from the mine; 
I ve seen the mad steer plunge and fall beneath 

the sledge s stroke 

In packing houses by the turbid Kaw; 
I have rotted three long months in a steel- 
barred southern jail 
And known the bitter irony of Law; 
I have fed the myriad-headed grain into the 

toothed machine 

Which tramples loud with wild, interior feet; 
I have seen the Kansas plains carpeted with 

soft young corn 
And garmented with glory of the wheat; 



I have camped in California by the shoreward- 
heaving sea, 
And I ve walked Manhattan s pavements all 

night long- 
But the lives I ve lived and suffered paid me 

more than poverty: 

They paid me in the golden coin of song; 
They paid me in Song s golden coin . . . those 

days were never lost. 
If I had died a hundred deaths it well were 

worth the cost; 
For I beheld America Her sunrise kissed my 

brow, - 
I learned to sing the miracle of living here and 

now! 



A TRAMP S PRAYER 

VjREAT Spirit, when I soar away 
Beyond the confines of this Day, 
And sing because my earth-life s done, 
And gaze back at the lessening sun; 
I pray that thou wilt make me free 
To roam through all infinity 
Where comets roar with maddened hair 
While the stars turn pale and stare 
Like huddled herds of frightened sheep - 
Else, give me, Lord, eternal sleep: 
I do not care in heaven to bide 
Forever by The Bridegroom s side. 



. THE WILD BIRD 

AT S good to be the wild bird 

To pierce horizons a-far, 
To hurl through night and sunlight 

As sure as the flight of a star, 
To pour down out of heaven 

As sheep pour out of a fold 
Where lone lakes lie in the sunset 

A-ripple with fluctuant gold, 
To dive and cry and scurry 

And shift in a joyous fleet 
Where the sudden-pattering rainstorm 

Roars by on a million feet! 



MARCH NIGHT 

JL HE vistaed concaves of infinity 
Star-vast, and archipelagoed with suns, 
And gulfed with stellar space the luminous 

banks 

Of the gigantic, straggling Milky Way, 
The moon that takes the huge world at one 

glance, 

Give me a winging sense of stars and space, 
Dim-bodied shapes of unimagined Dream 
Beat round me with a multitude of wings; 
Eternity s presence overshadows me, 
And I reach out toward everlastingness. . . . 

But now the moon s a ghost in silver mail, 
As, blowing through a storm of stars, the earth 
Dips downward into dawn, deluged with light 
Sunlight which is the golden laugh of God! 

The naked trees, gaunt, sullen limbs a-creak 
That shivered half alive in the rushing air 
Of Winter, dream of greenness and are glad; 
The marching armies of the snow have gone: 
White blossoms soon will rain from windy boughs; 
All Nature s little gentle things will wake, 
And earth will grow a Wonder to the sky! 



LET ME BE STILL LIFE S FOOL 



HATE the wisdom of the Wise 
That think first of the rule 
Before they plunge into the deed 
Let me be still life s fool. . . . 

For every glow the soul attains 
Is worth the exacted price, 

And from the buds of impulse spring 
The fruits of paradise! 



GO TELL THE LYING WORLD 

\jO tell the lying world that Indolence 

Is not a siren sitting on white bones, 

But the sweet nurse of fancy and romance, 

Mother of song and every starry art, 

Go tell the world that we have found her so 

We, who weave wonder for the ears of men, 

And, through all ages, beauty for men s eyes. 



CI093 



GOD S BACCHANTE 



. HE 



rain rushed, grey and solid, 
At window, wall, and door, - 
It crashed across the housetops 
Like waves that lift and roar. 

It danced to drums of thunder, 
It leaped along the plain, 

It raced upon the hilltops - 
God s Great Bacchante, Rain! 



STAR-FACTS 

A O think that we dwell on a star 
And poise in the infinite sky 
While all about us, a-far, 
Systems and sun-drifts ply! 

To think that we balance in space 
Like an irised bubble in air 

Where comets flash and race 
With thunder in their hair! 



MIDNIGHT 

VJfREAT and vast as is the sea, 
Its bounds are pettiness to me 
Compared with this infinity 
Which fetches compasses unknown 
Where unnumbered worlds are strown 
Through awful vastitudes star-sown. 
Hence gain I that which makes me strong, 
Hence draw my starry urns of song, 
Hence get, half-felt, half-seen, half-heard, 
The spirit that exalts the word. 



TRANSMUTATION 

OINCE bit by bit I ve died so long, 

I think I shall not mind 
When picks and spades have delved for me 

A hole that s close and blind. 

I died a little when a friend 

Unheeding, passed me by, 
And when a woman that I loved 

Revealed her love a lie; 

I died a little when I stooped 

To a revengeful score 
Yet, as I ve died, so I ve been born 

Each day a little more. . . . 

With every glimpse of loveliness 

I am the more re-born, 
With every laugh, with every kiss, 

With every shining morn! . . . 

So, one day, when they think me dead, 

The truth of truths will be 
That I ve just walked out through a door 

To immortality! 



RAIN-SADNESS 



Ti 



HE fowls seek shelter, and the eaves 
Drip-drip with melancholy rain 
I wonder why it makes me think 
Of times which will not come again 
And of great men who lived in vain ? 



MOON-DAWN 

TO R. W. 



T, 



HERE are more dawns than the one 
Uprising of the sun. 

There is a moon-dawn whose soft-flooding light 
Makes a nocturnal day of night. 
The whippoorwiirs the moon-dawn s lark, he 

sings, 

The immitigable passion of dumb things: 
In shadowy woods a thousand night-things cry, 
Unnumbered meadows lute in large reply. 



THE CRY OF MAN 

JL HERE is a crying in my heart 
That never will be still, 
Like the voice of a lonely bird 
Behind a starry hill; 

There is a crying in my heart 
For what I may not know 

An infinite crying of desire 

Because my feet are slow. . . . 

My feet are slow, my eyes are blind, 
My hands are weak to hold: 

It is the universe I seek, 
All life I would enfold! 



TOWARDS DAWN 



T 



HE night verged slowly into dawn: 

I waked while others slept, 
Till through the shutters closely drawn 

The infinite daylight crept; 
I could not keep the morning out, - 

Through every chink it came; 
It poured its growing beams about 

My lamp s decaying flame; 
And when I left my written words 

The sun was at my door: 
I never knew so many birds 

Lived in the trees before. 



WHY? 

VV HY, when I pass through moving faces 

Comes to me 

Visions of beauty no man knows of, 
None can see? 

And, in the midst of the long day s traffic, 

O er and o er 
Why must I dream of a surf a-thunder 

On an alien shore? 



BLIND 

CUMBERLAND MARKET, LONDON 



1HE 



Spring blew trumpets of color; 
Her green sang in my brain. . . . 
I heard a blind man groping 
"Tap-tap" with his cane; 

I pitied him his blindness; 

But can I boast, "I see?" 
Perhaps there walks a spirit 

Close by, who pities me, 

A spirit who hears me tapping 
The five-sensed cane of mind 

Amid such unguessed glories 
That I am worse than blind! 



R, 



AUTUMN TWILIGHT 

TO C. B. 

Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut 



JCH afterglows of Autumn 
Fill all the world with light 
And elm and oak and maple 
Loom up like fire in flight, 

And golden is the valley, 
And golden is the hill, 

And golden is the first star 
At twilight s window-sill. 



C 120:1 



THE WIND S LIFE 



I 



LOVE the silver-shaken, 
The windy tops of trees 
That heave and lift in sequence, 
Like running surf of seas, 

With swathes of changing purples 

And vistas golden-deep 
Where, for an unstirred moment, 

The sunlight lies asleep. 



LIGHTNING 



A 



RUSH of lightning reddened 
The dense, black, roaring rain; 
The night leaped into daylight 
Then back to night again. 

And like one hurt in battle 

When blows fall hot and blind, 

The great oak trembled, tottered, 
And leaned against the wind. 

Then, with a sudden thunder, 
Its cloudy head lay low 

Its thousand years were scattered 
To nothing, at one blow. 



122:1 



THE DAWN 

HERE is a pool for every star 
To shine upon. 

But all the waters of the world 
Await the dawn. 



123:1 



WONDER 

SEA that foams against untrodden sands; 
A voyaged ship with high, sky-moving spars; 
A casement opened by pale hidden hands; 
A hill lost in a multitude of stars. 



CI243 



TRANSIT GLORIA 



T, 



OWARD yon star-cluster in vast Hercules 
Our sun with all its worlds drops down the sky, 
For, banked in shining heaps, the great suns fly 
Onward in fiery swarms like golden bees, 
While from all sides the everlasting seas 
Of night break on them as they thunder by. . . . 

And ignorant generations live and die 
Amid this storm of stars, and feel at ease. 



TO ONE WHO SAID HE WAS 
BORED WITH LIFE 

T bores you, then, to live and die 
Upon this cloud-scarfed ball 
That drops from space to space of sky 
In one eternal fall? 

With the great heavens drawn above, 
Beneath, the wondrous earth, 

How strange is life, how strange is love, 
And death, that walks with birth. . . 

O, when I die, say I lived ill, 
Say that my days were poured 

Like wasted wine, say all you will, 
But never, "Kemp was bored." 



CI263 



EXUBERANCE 

IVE me those people who will shout, 
Sometimes, and wave their arms about; 
Folk who will swear, and laugh, and cry, 
Nor shape their conduct to another s eye: 
How I ve grown sick of the Polite 
Whose only care is how to do things right! 



THE HUMMING BIRD 

HE sunlight speaks and its voice is a bird 
It glimmers half-guessed, half-seen, half-heard, 
Above the flowerbed, over the lawn . . . 
A flashing dip, and it is gone, 
And all it lends to the eye is this - 
A sunbeam giving the air a kiss. 



CI28] 



TELL ALL THE WORLD 



T 



ELL all the world that summer s here again 
With song and joy; tell them, that they may 

know 

How, on the hillside, in the shining fields 
New clumps of violets and daisies grow. 

Tell all the world that summer s here again, 
That white clouds voyage through a sky so 
still 

With blue tranquillity, it seems to hang 
One windless tapestry, from hill to hill. 

Tell all the world that summer s here again: 
Folk go about so solemnly and slow, 

Walking each one his grooved and ordered way 
I fear that, otherwise thev will not know! 



WIND-MAGIC 



I HE 



wind sweeps over the corn, 
The wind sweeps over my heart, 
It lifts me up and it blows 
My soul and body apart; 

And I run, I run by its side 

In bodiless liberty 
I touch the tops of the trees, 

And dapple and darken the sea; 

I rush through populous streets, 
I eddy through glade and glen 

And now the wind dies down, 
And I am my body again. 



THE CHANTEY OF THE GALILEAN 
FISHERMEN 

W HILE the hills of Galilee hung as in a sea 

of glass, 
Peter, Andrew, James, and John, when they 

saw the Dreamer pass, 
With the clouts that they had on, left their 

nets live, tangled mass 

Left the fishes where they lay, seething silver, 

on the sand. 
Zebedee in vain, in vain raised his clenched, 

protesting hand, 
Captain of the fisher-fleet, twelve brown sails 

at his command. 

Thrice the Man had talked with them at the 

quiet edge of day, 
Where his dozen, sail-stripped masts, rocking 

slow, at anchor lay, 
But he d never even dreamed He would lure his 

sons away! 

John was he who sang so well when the battling 

nets they drew; 
Peter d hook leviathan just to fetch a nearer 

view; 
James could row, and Andrew mend four, the 

best men of his crew! 



"O, my sons, what fools you are/ cried their 

father Zebedee, 
"To go running off like this when you re sure 

of work with me - 
With a Man who boasts a ship on a far, un- 

travelled sea!" 

"Yes, you re fools," a gossip said, "fools to 

leave your father so - 
Leave the ships you ve learned to sail and the 

nets you ve learned to throw, 
On the word a Stranger gives of a Way you do 

not know." 

"Oh," said Peter, "we don t care to what un 
known port we sail. 

When all other craft lie deep, whelmed in foam 
from rail to rail, 

Captain swears no better ship ever keeled along 
the gale." 

"Oh, the ship that waits for us," it was gentle 

Andrew said, 
"It will weather any storm, Captain says, that 

ship bestead, 
Though the stars stoop down and whirl by the 

lifted mainmast head." 



"Oh, we ve signed on, father dear, with a greater 

Shipman now, 
For to cast a world-wide net from a starry 

vessel s prow," 
Spoke up John, while sunset lay like a halo on 

his brow. 

James said nothing, only laughed, the Adventure 

in his face. 

They departed as the stars lit illimitable space. 
All the neighbours said such sons were a scandal 

and disgrace. 



CI333 



CHANT OF THE WIDOW S MITE 

JLjSTEN to the trumpets blowing before 
The pharisee deep in the Talmud s lore 
Proclaiming his generous gifts to the Lord 
With the sky itself as his sounding board. 

Behold the scribe with his pompous face 
Saluting his friends in the market place. 

See how the strutting rich man comes 
The lord of vineyards and silks and sums. 

Behold the king in his chariot ride 
Surrounded by spears on every side. . . . 

But the widow, the widow comes last of all 
And she lets the mites in the coin-box fall 
So hardly spared from her little hoard 
Unseen of men, but seen of the Lord ! 

Who gives from his utmost need shall gain 
What the poor earth s measure cannot contain. . . . 
The king and all his hosts go by. 
The pharisee s trumpets hush their cry. 

The scribe sees death as all men must, 

And the rich man s wealth grows less than dust: 

But out of the widow s humble deed 

There grows, like the Scriptural mustard seed, 

Mercy and pity and love s increase 

To wax till the world itself shall cease. 

1:1343 



THE GOING OF HIS FEET 

i~J.IS feet went here and there 
About the common earth. 

He touched to grandeur all 
Men held of little worth. 

He loved the growing flowers, 
The small bright singing birds, 

The patient flocks of sheep, 
The many-pastured herds, 

The field of rippling corn 
That shimmered in the sun, 

The soft blue smoke of eve 

That curled when day was done. , 



He did not search a-far 
For what He had to say: 

His mind reached forth and drew 
Its strength from every day: 

The struggling nets, alive 

With fish drawn from the sea 

Supplied Him with the apt 
And chosen simile. 



He saw a neighbour build 

A house that did not stand 

And men may not forget 
The House Upon The Sand; 

He saw a widow drop 

Her mite into the hoard - 

And to eternity 

That treasure is up-stored; 

He heard a publican 

Who thought none other there 
The souls of all mankind 

Are richer for that prayer. . . 

O, Poet of The World, 
I pray Thee, come to me, 

That my lame heart might walk, 
That my dark soul may see; 

And teach me, too, to go 
About the ways of earth 

And find the Wealth of God 
In things of little worth! 



LAZARUS SPEAKS 



L 



fAZARUS, come forth!" The Great Compeller 

spoke, 
Then, earthquake-rent, the grave-mouth heaved 

and broke, 

And vomited forth, and pushed out, as with hands, 
A reeling thing wrapped round in rotten 

bands. . . . 

"Why didst thou call me forth? moaned 
Lazarus, 

"Why hast thou dragged my soul back earth 
ward, thus? 

Why didst thou waken me from out death s deep 

And sweet oblivion, sweeter far than sleep? 

What have I done to merit this? . . . 

Now 1 

A second time must die! 

Oh, Mighty Lord, how can I shake from me 
Those once-touched edges of eternity ?- 
Now, as I walk the narrow village street, 
Mine ears will hear all mouths repeat, 
There goes the Twice-born; him Jehovah led 
Twice into life behold The Living Dead! 
How can I cleanse me from the sepulchre? 
Will not about me grave-scents ever stir? 
Dare I sit down in Life s thronged banquet-room, 
An odor from the tomb? 



My mouth, too, thou hast sealed ... I may 

not tell 

The things I ve learned of Paradise and Hell, 
And unto me the reverend Wise will come 
Across the deserts both of sand and foam 
To learn of me what men have ever sought 
And I must, silent, sit, and tell them naught. 

The children at the fountain will grow dumb 

When they behold me come; 

The wedding guests will hold their laughter gay 

Till I have slunk my way; 

Without the door of Joy I ll have to wait 

Like a foul leper at the city gate; 

The very birds will cease till I have passed, 

And I will be to all an icy blast. 

Each word I say and every thought I have 
Will reek with reminiscence of the grave; 
And I shall live, abhorred, among men 
Dear Master, give me back to Death again!" 

Thus Lazarus spake, when, stunned with sun 

and bloom, 
He groped forth, like a blind man, from the tomb 

Then with that love which storms beyond all speech 
And floods the soul through every cove and reach, 
Christ took one groping hand ... he answered 

naught. . . . 
But down his cheeks the human tears rained hot. 



THE ANGEIAS ANTHEM 

A CHRISTMAS CAROL 

L HERE was music on the hillside and singing 

in the glen, 

And anthems heard in meadows when Christ 
was born to men: 

The king slept on in blindness, though troubled 

in his sleep; 
The high priest s ancient wisdom held no such 

lore in keep; 

The trader and the merchant so bound by gain 

and rule, 
And all the learned scholars who founded school 

on school, 

The consul and the soldiers, their ears were 

stopped that night, 
And only to the shepherds the angels brought 

delight. . . . 

The shepherds heard the singing that charmed 

the listening air; 
The shepherds saw the glory; the shepherds 

were aware: 

There was music on the hillside and singing in 

the glen, 
And anthems heard in meadows when Christ 

was born to men! 

CI393 



THE UNREPENTANT THIEF 

A HE Unrepentant Thief clung to the Cross, 
Batlike he held Christ s Paradise no loss: 

Point him as chief example, if you will, 
Of darkened souls that perish loving ill, 

At least, struck blind with fear, he did not 

cower 
And supplicate for heaven that last hour. 



14 3 



A RHYME OF TWO WAYFARERS 

A WO travellers met in passing, and one was 
lost in the murk: 

"Tell me (I come from Nazareth seeking car 
penter work) 

Is this the road to Jerusalem?" 

"You re somewhat out of the way. 

A furlong to the left, sire, brings you to Gol 
gotha, 

Then turn along the hillside a path leads to 
the street 

Where three men loom on crosses with nails 
clenched through the feet." 



THE PLAYMATE 
CHILDREN 

Where has he gone, our playmate? 

We ve sought him high and low 
Where grey-green olives ripen, 

Where haycocks stand a-row. . . . 

ELDERS 

We saw him passing down the street 
An hour or so ago! 

CHILDREN 

Where has he gone, our comrade 
Who took us by the hand 

And taught us to build houses 
With little heaps of sand ? 

ELDERS 

He has gone forth to sojourn 
In a far, foreign land! 

CHILDREN 

Nay, but he would not leave us 

Who took us on his knee, 
And set our fancies sailing 

Like ships upon the sea. . . . 

ELDERS 

We think that he will never come 
Again to Galilee! 



A CHANTEY OF GROWING GREEN 
THINGS 

And it was said unto them that they should not 
hurt the grass of the earthy neither any green 
thing, neither any tree. REVELATIONS 

The little green leaves were kind to him. LANIER 



Y 



E shall not hurt the grass of the earth 
That grows so gently on down and hill 
When I had nowhere to lay my head 
The lush green couch of it held me still, 

And I blessed the softness of the grass 

And the grateful shade of the wayside tree 

On the highway to Jerusalem 
And down the roads of Galilee. 

The live oak shadowed me from the sun, 
The sycamore and the lonely pine 

Tented me off from the chill of dew 
In the long night vigils that were mine. 

There was never a green thing did me hurt 
Though I suffered much from the ills of men, 

So I love the lily of the vale, 

And the little flowers of field and fen; 

And even that barren fig I cursed 
I afterward bade it bloom again 

CHS 3 



Till it bore like a tree in paradise. . . . 

Yea, even the thorns they pressed on me 
Grew rich with roses budded thick 

To make their mute apology, 

And sent a tender green about." 
The angels bowed in a shining row, 

And all earth s things of growing green, 
They heard the master and they bent low: 

And when Death came to tether Life, 
Leading it to its great, dark End, 

The trees and the flowers sang in the dawn 
For the Lord of All, was He not their friend ? 



144:1 



THE RHYME OF THE PRODIGAL 

1 OU VE youth and a girl and plenty of gold, 

what more can your heart desire? 
Did it ever content the heart of youth to sit 

at home by the fire? 
I am leaving half my land to you and half of my 

flocks and herds 
And I d rather shepherd alien sheep and live 

on whey and curds. 
Don t go, don t go, my own little son, and 

leave me all alone 
Will you never remember I m not a child but a 

youth that s nigh man-grown? 
Think of your brother, your elder brother, 

would you leave him all to bear? 
He s only a brother of mine by birth who 

seldom speaks me fair, 
And I ve had a dream, a wonderful dream of 

brothers that wait for me, 
Men made brethren by perils borne together on 

land and sea. 
Think of your mother, your own dear mother, 

and ponder what is best. 
Would you tie me fast to an apron-string and 

make me a village jest? 
Your pallet is fine and soft with wool and you 

sleep in the Upper Room 
And I d liefer be in a fo c sle hold where one 

lamp swings in the gloom, 



In the fo c sle hold of a great-sailed ship that 

sunders the purple sea. 
My son, my son, will you break my heart to 

have your jest with me?- 
Father, I m having no jest with you, but I m 

earnest to go away; 
There s something that s gripping the soul of me 

that will not bide delay; 
I have dreamed and dreamed for nights of seas 

that break in alien foam 
And of magic cities that climb and climb with 

dome on golden dome 
And I d rather be a beggar that crawls along 

some strange, far street 
Than living here where I rise each day to sit in 

the selfsame seat, 
To look in the face that is always the same at 

the stale, familiar board, 
What though the granaries burst with corn and 

the wine-jar brims to be poured! 
My lad, I see that you won t be moved, so here 

is your father s hand, 
And whenever you tire of ships and ports and 

yearn for the good home-land, 
Wearied to death of the waves that toss forever 

and ever about, 
Come home, so ragged the dogs forget, and 

you ll find the latchstring out! 



146] 



THE RHYME OF THE ELDER 
BROTHER 

_l AM the Elder Brother; you ve heard of the 

Prodigal Son, 
But little of me, I ll warrant, who stuck till the 

job was done, 

While he was off carousing at Caesarea and Tyre 
With dissolute dancing women to sound of 

tabour and lyre. 
I am the Elder Brother; I brought the sheep 

to the fold 
When, spite of the wool he carried, the black 

ram shivered with cold, 
When frost gleamed white on the roof-tops as 

thick as a fall of snow 
And the great, pale star of evening shone like a 

lamp hung low. 
I am the Elder Brother; I worked till far in the 

night 
To see that the cows were foddered and the 

horses bedded right; 
The Boy, he took his portion and scattered it 

far and near, 

But I held on to my wages to buy more farming- 
gear, 
And I looked about for a woman, and married, 

and settled down 
And kept so busy I ve only gone twice of a year 

to town. 



I am the Elder Brother; when HE came strolling 

back 
I strove to send him packing to follow his 

former track, 
Yes, I who had heaved and lifted along with the 

other men, 
I urged the Old Man blackly to let him shift 

again. . . . 
And ever I grew bitter to see that the right 

was done 
To me, the Elder Brother in re the Prodigal 

Son, 
And each plea knotted me harder, I stood as 

firm as a rock - 
Till one day down in the village I heard a 

Young Man talk 
(A queer young chap from somewhere . . . folk 

said from Galilee) 
Of God . . . and Love . . . and Brothers . . . 

and He seemed to speak to me 
As He told of the lost sheep straying far from 

the wonted track, 
For only that day, a fortnight, I brought one in 

on my back, 
And I hadn t stopped to chide it, but I had 

carried it in - 
And I saw I d treated it better than my own 

blood and kin; 



And I went back home, and was decent, and 

joined the lad at the fire 
And I even enjoyed his stories, though I knew 

he was half a liar! . . . 
But I d like to know what happened to the Lad 

who was young as he, 
Who talked so plainly to people that He only 

spoke to me! 



A FANTASY OF HEAVEN 

I ERHAPS he plays with cherubs now, 
Those little, golden boys of God, 

Bending, with them, some silver bough, 
The while a seraph, head a-nod, 

Slumbers on guard; how they will run 
And shout, if he should wake too soon, 

As fruit more golden than the sun 
And riper than the full-grown moon, 

Conglobed in clusters, weighs them down, 
Like Atlas heaped with starry signs; 

And, if they re tripped, heel over crown, 
By hidden coils of mighty vines, 

Perhaps the seraph, swift to pounce, 

Will hale them, vexed, to God and He 

Will only laugh, remembering, once 
He was a boy in Galilee! 



HIGHWAYMAN S SONG 

A HERE S a smell of burning wood in the air 

That comes with the turning year, 
The road unwinds in a silver coil 

As the autumn moon rides clear 
Of a patch of cloud, and there, etched sheer, 

Swings the coach, through a burst of light. . . . 
O, a harvest of Louis D or is ours, 
A flood of golden sovereigns is ours 

If we screw our courage tight; 
With a heigh and a ho 
As we rob em so 

In the gaze of the great, white moon, 
Though every thief has his piece of rope, 
Every thief has his piece of rope 

That hangs him, late or soon. 
Now there isn t a game in all the earth 

That only one can play; 
The blackest of crimes needs fellowship 

To hearten or gainsay, 
And we are rollicking, singing lads, 

Although we ll get for our pains 
A gibbet on a bleak cross-road 

To swing on the wind in chains. . . . 
O, the stage draws near and the moon rides clear 

As we wait where the shadows lurk, 
And, bursting forth, we make em stand, 
All in a row we make em stand 

With many a jest and quirk, 



As with heigh and ho 
We rob em so 

In the gaze of the great, white moon, 
Though every thief has his piece of rope, 
Every thief has his piece of rope 

That hangs him, late or soon. 



THE MADMAN 



i 



HAD a vision in the night: 
That vast mysterious something, 
That which hangs imminent in orchestras, 
That thing which every human heart expects, 
I dreamed had happened to me; 
Sometimes I felt it hanging over me 
Like the shadow 
Of enormous catastrophe, 
And then again it was the liberation 
From everything, 
The unpremeditated event 
That hovers, infinite, over every man. . . . 

No, it is not death, 
Nor love, 

Nor fame, success, nor wealth: 
These are but paltry things, 
The sparrow s wing before the archangel s 
flight. . . . 

Day after day I felt that it would happen 

Of which all mankind feel the imminence 

As Christians dream a great, red Judgment 

Day 
And dip their lives into its dreadful color. . . . 



And now it must have happened 

To me, at last; 

The rosy nakedness of immortality, 

Or something kin to that, 

Has fallen over me: 

I am all ecstacy, 

And cannot give it words. . . . 

And yet they lead me off, 
One upon either side, 
Saying that I am mad! 



THE DEAD LOVER 



I 



AM out here in the rain; 
O, my love, let me in 
And tomorrow the parson 
Will shrive us of sin. 

O, woe s me, my love, 

There s a man with you there, 
With his mouth on your mouth 

And his hand on your hair; 

And you re happy, and laugh, 
And the lamplight glows red. . 

So soon I m forgotten 
I think I am dead! 



THE DISEMBODIED 



i 



NVISIBLE, yet real as air, 
My instant foot is everywhere. 
The cold s sharp lash no more may sting 
Nor darkness bid me fold my wing. 
Earth cumbrance of the five-fold sense 
Has widened to omniscience. 
Swifter than hope my foot can race 
Unto the other side of space, 
And I may see from where I stand 
God poise creation in his hand: 
Worlds flash and glow like firefly light, 
The shadow of his face their night; 
And now I glimpse his dawning smile 
Light up a bank of suns the while. 



TRUTH AND LIE 

AFTER THE PERSIAN 



H 



E who loves the truth must have 
Ever at hand a saddled steed 
To serve his instant need. 

He who thinks the truth must keep 
His foot into the stirrup thrust 
Lest he be ground to dust. 

He who speaks the truth must grow 

Wings back of either arm 

To lift him high from harm. . . . 

But he who lives the lie has need 
Of neither stirrup, steed, 
Nor wings about his head 
For he s already dead! 



THE BOOTH OF HAPPINESS 

A HERE was once an unhappy man 

Who had a bazaar in the east 
Where he carved little ivory toys 
Of elephant, god, and priest. 

The children gathered and gaped, 
And lovers paused as they went: 

There were crystal dwarfs with staves 
And grotesque images pent 

In beryl and chrysolite; 

There were tumblers poising a fan; 
And here was a bird, and there 

A bear that danced with a man. . . 

The man bent low in his booth 
Plying and plying his trade 

To bury the woes of his life 

In the queer little toys he made; 

And the people bought and bought, 
The street was full of their press 

And they named the man s bazaar 
"The Booth Of Happiness!" 



UNNUMBERED WORLDS 



u, 



NNUMBERED worlds flash round unnum 
bered suns: 

World-generations battle, labour, cease, 
And millions go down to the final peace 
Through all the Starry Vast, while on there runs 
Fierce generation still, and little ones 
Clap tiny palms on million mothers knees 
Themselves to toil and strive till death s release 
And from their loins pour newer millions. 
From time to time all Space doth halt and cry 
On Thee, O Life, for it would gladly know 
Whence they have come and whither they must 

go 

Then a star falls, and silence gives reply. , . 
No answer else! and Nature trudges on 
With death and life and sunset, night and dawn. 



CIS9H 



THE HAUNTED HOUSE 



IT 



is vacant in the daylight, 
There is nothing living there. 
But at night the foot of Something 
Goes up and down the stair. 

There s a fence of rusted pickets; 

In the yard the tangled grass 
Clutches at the feet in warning: 

Every pane s a shattered glass; 

On a plot where burst a fountain 

Prone a marble naiad lies 
Staring up in sun or starshine 

With unseeing, soulless eyes; 

Ancient weeds have choked the flowers 
That in patterned order stood; 

Step by step with sure encroachment, 
Marches in the gloomy wood. . . . 

It is vacant in the daylight, 
There is nothing living there; 

For at night the foot of SOMETHING 
Goes up and down the stair. 



THE BALLAD OF THE LIVING 
DEAD 



I 



THOUGHT that when I struck him down, 
Why, that would be the end 
Of him who stole my Love away, 
That false, betraying friend. 

I gave him no time for a prayer 

And no space for a priest. . . . 
I flung him over in the moat 

To make the fishes feast. 

Yet, even as I turned away 

And thought, "now all is well," 
A night-thing sent a doleful cry 

Like a far voice from hell! 



They searched for many a torch-lit night, 

For many a windy day 
Till a peasant said he d seen him go 

As he had ridden away. . . . 

Full loud I laughed . . . but when I saw 

The stable open wide, 
I feared the Dead who would not die, 

His horse was not inside. 



Then came my woman he had won, 

Saying, "your ring of worth 
He took, last night. Behold, no more 

It holds my finger s girth. ..." 

O, worse than death the look he gave, 

And none the words he said 
When the slain man returned, one night, 

And stood beside my bed. . . . 

I sent for the sad, grey, silent priest, 

And, as he harked to me, 
Horror rose in his face like the dawn 

Over a still, grey sea: 

Alas, alas, I ve learned too late 

Now that my days are sped 
That strike with daggers all you may, 

The Dead will not lie dead. . . . 

And I hear them building all day long 

And far into the night 
A tall thing with a dangling rope 

Upon a sky-black height. 



THE GAME WARDEN S SON 

P ATHER, O father, what have you done 
With Ruddy Kervil, the Warden s son? 

- He has gone forth under the sky 
To watch the young grey goshawks fly. 

O father, father, what have you done 
With the Game Warden s only son? 

- He has gone forth to fish for me 

Where the bitter marsh runs black to the sea, 

O father, my father, what have you done 
With a grey-faced woman s only son? 

- He has gone forth to hunt, alone, 
The deer that drink by Yarbury Stone. 

My father, my father, what have you done 
With my own lover, the Warden s son? 
By Yarvel Mere is a track of red. . . . 
And the crows are gathering overhead. 



THE BETRAYAL 

HERE were miles and miles of still, grey 
heath 

Where never a wind did run, 
And there was a great cloud in the sky 
Red with the sinking sun, 

And the tufts of grass stood black and high 

With the sun s last edge behind, 
While a small grey bird slipped through the air 

Like a dream from a madman s mind. 

Then, far away, a trumpet shrilled 

Like the cry of a new-born child, 
And I saw the little moving stars 

Of their spearheads tossing wild. . . . 

"What voices are those, my own dear love?" 
"Tis the waves of the sea that roar!" 

"Nay, we are miles and miles away 
From the sea and the good sea s shore, 

Where the hermit dwells who will make us one, 
Where I fear we never shall win!" 

I leaned above the horse s mane 
And I drove the rowels in. ... 

"I think I hear my father s voice." 
"Tis a bittern from yonder mere!" 

Then an arrow sped high overhead, 
It whistled high and clear, 



And after it leaped her father s voice, 
"Light down, light down like a man, 

And fight with any one of us. ... 

You have broken the law of the clan!" 

"Nay, heed them not," my true love spoke, 
"I have broken the law of the clan, 

An ancient law, and a cruel law - 

But they ve called me, man to man, 

Yet how could they know the way of our flight, 

The way of our flight so soon ? 
For as yet the sky is dark with the lack 

Of the still unrisen noon. . . . 

Sir Hugh is the only knight that knows, 

A friend both tried and true!" 
Then I saw in the front, by her father s side, 

That traitor and thief, Sir Hugh! 

"I have twenty knights will cleave your skull, 

Oh, stealer of women so bold ! " 
"There is only one knight I would slay in fight 

The bloodless thief that told!" 

With that her father laughed a laugh 
And smote Sir Hugh on the knee. . . . 

"You were quick to tell ... by the bottom of 

Hell, 
Be as quick to fight!" quo* he. 

165:1 



We couched our spears as the bright moon rose; 

We fought right lustily, - 
I found him brave as he was false, 

Right false and brave was he; 

But I caught him at last with a sudden blast 

Of blows on the head and breast, 
And I tore away his morion 

With a tug at the helmet s crest. . . . 

His still grey face shone white in the moon, 

His still grey face shone white 
As I knelt by his side before he died, 

There in the still grey night. . . . 

"Sir Hugh that was my life-long friend 

Beneath both moon and sun, 
O, why have you done the foulest deed 

That ever friend has done?" 

"Lean down, lean <lown right secretly, 

As once you held me dear, 
For the thing that I would tell to you 

No other man must hear: 

You knew all things I thought or knew, 

One thing you did not know; 
The thing that I hid from you in my heart 

That brings us both to woe. . . ." 

CI66] 



Lower I leaned in the low red grass 

To hear the words he sighed 
From his death-slow lips, "I loved her too, 

God . . . knows!" so my false friend died. 



HE DID NOT KNOW 



H 



E did not know that he was dead: 
He walked along the crowded street, 
Smiled, tipped his hat, nodded his head 
To friends he chanced to meet, 

And yet they passed him quietly by 

With an unknowing, level stare; 
They met him with an abstract eye 

As if he were the air. 

"Some sorry thing has come to pass," 
The Dead Man thought ... he hurried home 

And found his wife before the glass 
Dallying with a comb. . . . 

He found his wife all dressed in black; 

He kissed her mouth ... he stroked her 

head. . . . 
"Men act so strange since I ve come back 

From over there," he said. 

She said no word . . . she only smiled; 

But now he heard her speak his name, 
And saw her study, grief-beguiled, 

His picture in a frame. . . . 

Then he remembered that black night 

And the great shell-burst wide and red. . . . 

The sudden plunging into light 
And knew that he was dead! 



THE FIDDLER 

HY, upon this lovely day, 
Must that wretched fiddler play, 
All the sky one stainless blue, - 
Every note he strikes, untrue! . . . 
Summer deep embowered in flowers, 
Silent music in the hours, 
In the east a feather moon, - 
And that fiddler out of tune! 
God s hand never slipped to mar 
At the making of a star; 
There s no true excuse yet made 
For the bungler at his trade! 



STREET LAMPS 

GREENWICH VILLAGE 

OOFTLY they take their being, one by one, 
From the lamp-lighter s hand, after the sun 
Has dropped to dusk . . . like little flowers they 

bloom 
Set in long rows amid the growing gloom. . . . 

Who he who lights them is, I do not know, 
Except that, every eve, with footfall slow 
And regular, he passes by my room 
And sets his gusty flowers of light a-bloom. 



A POETS ROOM 

GREENWICH VILLAGE IQI2 



I 



HAVE a table, cot and chair 
And nothing more. The walls are bare 
Yet I confess that in my room 
Lie Syrian rugs rich from the loom, 
Stand statues poised on flying toe, 
Hang tapestries with folk a-flow 
As the wind takes them to and fro. 
And workman Fancy has inlaid 
My walls with ivory and jade. 

Though opening on a New York street 

Full of cries and hurryng feet 

My window is a faery space 

That gives on each imagined place; 

Old ruins lost in desert peace; 

The broken fanes and shrines of Greece; 

Aegean islands fringed with foam; 

The everlasting tops of Rome; 

Troy flowing red with skyward flame, 

And every spot of hallowed fame. 

Outside my window I can see 
The sweet blue lake of Galilee, 
And Carmel s purple-regioned height 
And Sinai clothed with stars and night. 



But this is told in confidence, 
So not a word when you go hence, 
For if my landlord once but knew 
My attic fetched so large a view, 
The churl would never rest content 
Till he had raised the monthly rent. 



CI723 



FAREWELL 



T 



ELL them, O Sky-born, when I die 
With high romance to wife, 
That I went out as I had lived, 
Drunk with the joy of life. 

Yea, say that I went down to death 

Serene and unafraid, 
Still loving Song, but loving more 

Life, of which Song is made! 



CI733 






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